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China helps SA prepare for surge in infections

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China donates medical supplies and equipment to aid SA in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic

THE GOVERNMENT continues to pile up critical Covid-19 medical supplies as experts warn that the country is headed for a surge in infections in the coming months.

On Tuesday, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize received a donation of Covid-19 medical supplies and equipment from China, including 95 respirators, 50 000 surgical masks and 3 000 goggles.

The chairperson of the ministerial advisory committee on Covid-19, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, has indicated that the surge in infections would continue once the lockdown is lifted.

Mkhize said the government was hard at work to ensure that it was well prepared. “As we speak right now, we are working very closely with the private sector looking at the entire stock of our requirements in the country to make sure that such is expedited.” 

Mkhize revealed that confirmed Covid-19 infections had significantly increased to 2 415 cases, up from 2 175 on Monday.

“We are now seeing a lot more of the testing that is coming from the public sector. We have got teams that are out there screening our community and then referring more people for testing, and we believe that this is the way South Africa will be able to deal with this pandemic – sending out more teams to identify people who might be at risk even before they land in the hospital.” 

Gauteng continues as the epicentre with 909 cases, followed by the Western Cape with 643, while KwaZulu-Natal has 489 cases. The Eastern Cape has 174 cases, the Free State 98, Limpopo 24, Mpumalanga and North West 22 each and the Northern Cape 16.

According to Mkhize, about 87 000 tests had been performed so far. 

His department is very concerned about the protection of professionals as front-line workers in the battle against the virus, adding that the Chinese donation would significantly help in ensuring their protection.

Pandor hailed the Chinese government for its willingness to support South Africa and other African countries in their battle against Covid-19. 

However, she avoided weighing in on recent allegations relating to discrimination against Africans in China.