Mkhize announces total Covid-19 infections in SA now at 1,749, with one more death

BREAKING NEWS
Mkhize announces total Covid-19 infections in SA now at 1,749, with one more death

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize can be seen during a press briefing on updates on the coronavirus in South Africa at the Civitas building is Pretoria CBD, 9 March 2020. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The health minister has said the situation at a KZN hospital may mean parts of it will need to be closed down.

Speaking on Tuesday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa stood at 1,749, an increase of 63.

“There is also another death, bringing the total to 13,” he said.

“It was a male who had stage 4 prostate cancer at Parklands Hospital. We convey our condolences to the family of the deceased.

“We are concerned about developments at St Augustine’s Hospital where 66 tested positive over the past few days. About 48 of them are staff. The provincial department is engaging the hospital with a view to closing parts of the hospital down.”

He said he hoped a fumigation process would start there soon.

“We have also assigned specialists there. We must always be on the lookout. The infection can seep in from any institution. We must now trace all the contacts. It is a matter of serious concern and we are dealing with it.”

Mkhize said that a number of patients being treated were slowly recovering.

“Mass testing has also started in all provinces.”

The minister said that the number of patients requiring care had not yet reached the level where there was not enough equipment available to treat them or to give staff personal protection equipment (PPE).

“We have not had enough patients to exhaust the pre-existing stock. Everyone is anxious. Healthcare workers are nervous. But it is possible for them to point out where the shortages are, so we can move stock around.

“As stock comes in, we will start preparing for the period after. So we are preparing ahead. We don’t even have a hundred people in hospital at the moment countrywide.”

He had earlier been accepting a donation from the Motsepe Foundation, including of 200,000 surgical masks.

“On behalf of the government and unions and all my staff, thank you to the Motsepe Foundation,” he told billionaire Patrice Motsepe in person.

“We have not completely run out of equipment. There are different provisions for different areas.”

This story is being updated.

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