South Africa's Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize. Photo: Twitter/Dr Zweli Mkhize

South Africa’s Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, says “today, we cautiously but optimistically breathe a sigh of relief as we continue to see our detected cases, hospital admissions, deaths and even excess deaths declining”.

South Africa’s recovery rate is now almost at 90% and the country’s mortality rate has remained stable at around 2%, Dr Mkhize announced at the Society of Private Nurse Practioners Conference on Saturday.

The Health Minister said mothers affected by COVID-19 have given birth to healthy babies. “They are breastfeeding and physically bonding with their children, laying foundations for wholesome upbringing and solid building blocks for a healthy and prosperous society,” he said.

The Minister said: “These Herculean achievements have been possible because of the passion, dedication and sheer diligence of our nurses and midwives.”

He thanked the nurses and midwifes for “braving the threat of being infected yourself, and even of death.”

To date, over 31,000 health care workers – many of them nurses and midwives – have contracted Coronavirus and “we have tragically lost 240 colleagues”, said Dr Mkhize.

The Minister conveyed his heartfelt condolences for the loss of health care workers’ co-workers, friends, family and loved ones.

He said: “By shining a spotlight on the state of Nursing and Midwifery, the WHO catalysed a series of events to galvanize worldwide action for focused and purposeful health systems strengthening through fortifying human resources for health.”