Resurgence warning from Mkhize on day one of Level 1

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, 9 March 2020. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The minister said the move to Level 1 did not mean the period of the Covid-19 pandemic was over but that it did mean rebuilding the economy.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has warned against complacency now that South Africa has moved to Covid-19 alert Level 1, saying containment measures remained in place as the pandemic could resurge.

“We are not out of the woods. The most important thing is we still have about 10,000 patients, people who are positive a week and we also know that there are more than the 10,000 because the numbers are much higher,” the minister said on Monday.

As of Sunday evening, on the eve of Level 1, South Africa recorded an additional 13 fatalities, with the total number of identified cases standing at 661,211 and 1,555 new cases identified since Saturday.

The World Health Organisation has commended SA for the decline in the number of new Covid-19 cases, with fewer than 2,000 cases per day compared to two months ago when around 12,000 new cases were being recorded daily.

Mkhize said the move to Level 1 did not mean the Covid-19 pandemic was over, but that it meant rebuilding the economy and bring some normality to social lives.

“That is what [Level 1] means but the new normality is no longer the same as before so there is a pre-Covid world and there is post-Covid world. We are now in the post-Covid world… we have to make sure that we take precautions. This Covid-19 can still resurge and therefore we should not lose the message and be complacent, we still have to continue the fight. Therefore the containment measures still remain in place.”

He said the use of masks, sanitiser and social distancing was still going to be part of everyday life.

“We still have the virus amongst us and the real question is for us to always be alert and not see a resurgence like we have in other countries,” the minister said.

According to Mkhize, South Africa has recorded over 660,000 Covid-19 cases, of which 590,000 have recovered, and that over 15,000 people have died from Covid-19-related illnesses.

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