Minister Says It's Time To Move On From Lockdown

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South Africa's Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, has addressed South African citizens' growing concerns about major increases in infection rates and has also commented on lockdown and whether it has done it's job. He encourages South Africans to make moves in adjusting to the 'new normal'. 

Minister Zweli Mkhize from South Africa's Health Department has said that what South Africa aimed to achieve with lockdown has been done. The main objective was to gain time so that the country could put strategies and plans into place, which it has done, and to also not have healthcare in South Africa be overwhelmed. 

He has said that "we have actually gotten the maximum benefit from the lockdown". Millions of screenings have taken place and will become even more, 376 sites have been identified for quarantine which results in there being 30,823 beds available and to date, 475,071 tests have been conducted. Government plans to have more testing in Covid hot spots and healthcare workers and relevant parties are being deployed to assist in the fight against Covid-19. 

"Now, what we need to do is to adjust all our containment measures so that we now adjust to a new normal of how we will be living. As we implement it we are going to move on, we can’t suddenly say let us open everything. You are going to be forced to deal with clusters where tomorrow there are so many people infected and if you end up with that situation you will close down those very same places all over again because you did not do the preparations. That preparatory phase is also very important so that is the issue,” Mkhize told Times Select.

Zweli has said that a further lockdown is not needed and won't do much to flatten the curve but in order for lockdown to be completely eased, many regulations and protocols need to be in place. He said there would also have to be "non-pharmaceutical interventions, to balance that up is an administrative implementation issue, it does not offend the original science on which it was based".

The Minister has also responded to South Africans who have complained that they are not receiving enough information from Government and has rejected it and said, "give us space so that we can come back and give you all the information, but we cannot stop what we are doing simply because people are now asking questions".

"The truth of the matter is that so far we’ve been much more fortunate in the manner that the epidemic has turned out in our country; it has not been as devastating as it could have been had we followed other trajectories other countries have seen, that’s the truth," said Zweli as South Africans continue to criticise Government's response to Covid-19. 

Read the full article by Times Select here


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