Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize
PHOTO: SA Gov News - Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize

Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, says KwaZulu-Natal appears to be following the same trend of COVID-19 infections, as witnessed in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng provinces.

Speaking during a virtual sitting of the National Assembly on Thursday, he said: “This is based on the average daily cases that we have been recording. We have publicly stated that the storm is upon us.

“This is evidenced by the surge in different provinces, namely, the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng. KwaZulu-Natal appears to be following the same trend and we are now watching the province closely,” the Minister said.

As of today, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in SA is over 408,000 with over 6,000 deaths reported.

The reopening of the economy, which led to the increased movement of people in the country, has with no doubt contributed to the rise in numbers, the Minister said.

“However, we are mindful that government had to grapple with protecting our citizen’s lives and their livelihood.

“It has not at all proven to be an easy exercise, with various sectors having their own expectations informed by the challenges they face.

“But we want to assure every South African that as inconvenient and uncomfortable things may be, our intention is to do what is in the best interest of our people.”

R5.5 billion set aside to fight COVID-19

The Minister said government is mindful of the fact that while the focus has shifted to fighting COVID-19, it still has a responsibility to ensure the gains made with the HIV, TB and other programmes are sustained, regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The new baseline budget for 2020/201, based on adjustments, is at R58.4 billion, with a total allocation of R5.5 billion earmarked for COVID-19.

“The reprioritisation of focal areas includes our most urgent and pressing needs in the midst of a surge in COVID-19 cases,” Mkhize said. –