Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Thursday applauded Eastern Cape government for fast-tracking its COVID-19 response strategy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, along with Mkhize, visited the province on Thursday to conducted oversight inspections and received a progress report outlining what provincial government has done to ramp up its response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane’s presentation outlining the province’s progress in strengthening healthcare facilities, Mkhize said he was “happy”.

“The challenge here is that both in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, the epidemic is getting into an outbreak that is going to get out of control if we don’t change our strategy. This team has understood that,” Mkhize said.

Addressing the president, Mkhize said that there were four main concerns he had about Eastern Cape – and the plans that have now been put in place have addressed those concerns.

His concerns were:

– The province’s strategy in responding to the outbreak

– A shortage of personal protective equipment

– A shortage of human resources

– Inadequate infrastructure.

“The strategy is focused on intervention; the strategy is directed to where we need to be going. We need to look at June and July, we are either going to have an outbreak that is out of control or an inflection. With the approach they are taking, I think they are on the right track,” Mkhize said of the provincial government.