South Africa’s health minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize says the Covid19 pandemic has behaved differently than initial projections suggested. Models originally touted Gauteng, the country’s economic heartland as the epicenter of the virus – but the rapid spread of the disease in the Western Cape, in areas around Cape Town – has defied models and the government is struggling to contain it.
Speaking on national television this morning Mr. Mkhize says two-thirds of the country’s nearly 36 thousand coronavirus cases are in the Western Cape. Of greater concern to health, authorities are saying that more than 50 % of all new cases, and covid-related deaths, have taken place in the province. Mr. Mkhize says he’s working with officials to ensure there are enough beds to accommodate patients in public and private facilities as well as in newly built field hospitals.
The Health Minister also delivered a stark warning to South Africa, stating that Covid19 is a bigger threat now than at the start of the lockdown, and he called on people to remain vigilant as cases continue to rise.
South Africa eased lockdown regulations at the start of this week despite the rise cases, in an attempt to bring some economic relief. More than 8 million people have now returned to work. However, the lockdown regulations, which many have said are inconsistent, are currently under legal scrutiny. Yesterday a Pretoria court ruled that the government’s level 4 and 3 lockdown regulations are invalid and unconstitutional. The court has given the State 14 days to fix deficiencies in the regulations.