Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says that although South Africa has passed the first wave of positive COVID-19 cases, citizens should continue to remain cautious to prevent a resurgence of the virus in communities.
Speaking during interviews with the media on Monday morning – including PowerFM, SABC’s Morning Live and SAFM – the Minister charted out the country’s current trajectory in relation to the pandemic.
“We never actually knew what to expect and the reality is that we can now safely say we are over the surge. There were days we used have 11,000 people who were positive and now today we see numbers around 2,000…We are not over the worst yet. We are worried about what may happen in terms of a resurgence in the country,” Mkhize told Morning Live.
He said the sooner the country can reduce the level of restrictions, the better.
“It would have been logical that from Level Three to Level Two, there would have been an increase in numbers; it didn’t happen. We don’t make a conclusion because we have seen what happened in other countries where there was a lull for a few weeks before a resurgence,” he told SAFM.
“The sooner we can get to Level One the better, the sooner we have a normal economy the better, it is better for the country. We are hoping South Africans will understand that to get there, we have to make sure we are just as cautious in Level Two so that there is no resurgence.”
About 88% of people infected with COVID-19 in South Africa have recovered.
“In the past two weeks, we have been increasing our positivity rate at around 2000 or less per day, which is much less than what it used to be around the peak in July where at some point it went up to about 12000 on a 24-hour basis,” Mkhize told Power FM.
“The number of recoveries have also increased to about 88% and that is very encouraging. South Africa had gone up to number five in the number of global positive cases but we have dropped now to number seven and if things continue the way they are, we will be down to number eight.
We are at a point where our numbers are steadily coming down, hospitalisation numbers have reduced, and people in ICUs are reducing. We must be very optimistic but still very cautious. We are not seeing the end of the disease yet.”
The Minister said it is too early to celebrate.
“We have passed the wave. It surged around June, and July was the highest. For about three weeks now, we have been on a steady decline. We are not seeing any new spikes or surges. We are really hoping we don’t get a second surge,” he said.
“We have seen other countries that celebrated a reduction of numbers, went to a point where they had zero patients testing positive, and then suddenly it flared up again…We must keep our precautions and all containment measures must stay in place.”