Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says the decision to implement a nationwide lockdown was a timeous one which allowed South Africa to deflect the curve of COVID-19 infection.

 

But, he said in a television interview on Thursday, flattening the curve was an ongoing process.

 

“We have tried and done our best. The President has led strongly from the front. We need the public to help us to continue to fight the pandemic.”

Mkhize has announced that there are 12,739 confirmed cases of coronavirus in South Africa, with the total death toll now at 238.

 

5,676 people have also recovered from the virus.

 

Speaking to SABC News and Newzroom Afrika, the Minister said the focus will now shift to the targeted management Of hotspot areas where large numbers of people get infected at the same time.

 

Permanent teams of health specialists will be deployed to these hotspots to do wall-to-wall scanning of the area, to make sure infected individuals are isolated and treated.

 

“We are up to the challenge,” Mkhize said.

 

The Minister said there would be greater restrictions in areas where infections are higher.

 

“The areas where the infections are highest is where economic activity is the highest. Our challenge is to go in there and put in containment measures, and balance economic and social activities.”

 

Responding to questions on legal challenges to the lockdown, Mkhize said the challenges had nothing to do with health interventions.

 

“We will fight the cases but our focus is saving lives…We need to educate people on how to take responsibility to fight the infection,” he said.