Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that a surge in COVID-19 cases has been reported, and the country may need to implement restrictions in certain areas.
Mkhize discussed the current situation in South Africa in a series of tweets on Tuesday morning.
“The numbers are picking up, the surge is on the way,” said Mkhize. “Particularly in Gauteng the numbers are locking up faster than anticipated.”
While the Western Cape was the first to experience a surge, Mkhize noted that as of Monday night, Gauteng is experiencing nearly 3,000 new cases per day.
“The problem is too many people getting sick at the same time,” Mkhize said.
“We want to plead to people to use the masks, hand washing, social distancing etc.”
May be need for localised lockdown
Mkhize also noted that the country is expected to suffer larger numbers of new cases during July, with this likely to extend to August too.
He said that the government is hoping to manage the situation during this period.
However, he reiterated that there has been no decision taken to have another lockdown.
“The NCCC does not take lightly a decision of that nature,” said Mkhize.
“There may be need in some areas for restrictions, it may not be national but localised. But no such decision has been taken as yet.”
He added that South Africans with co-morbidities must continue to take their medication and should attempt to get multiple months worth so that they can limit their movement.
“Where possible they should work from home, if not to seclude themselves at work,” he added.
Eastern Cape situation being dealt with
Mkhize noted the challenges currently being faced in the Eastern Cape.
He said that a key focus in this province is to strengthen its management capacity.
“I have seen improvements in the past 6 weeks. We do know there are challenges of staffing,” said Mkhize.
He said that the government has sent a number of people to the Eastern Cape to assist its efforts, and will continue to send reinforcements moving forward.
Mkhize also acknowledged a recent report where COVID-19 tests were found dumped on the side of a road in the province.
“The tests lying on the road was disappointing, it seems to be the courier company, we’ve asked [for] these services to be suspended,” said Mkhize.
“We cannot have this type of negligence. We are grateful to those who spotted and reported this matter.”