Minister Zweli Mkhize deploys medical experts as Eastern Cape Covid-19 cases spike

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Port Elizabeth – Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on a visit to the Eastern Cape has raised concerns about the rapid increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the province, saying that ‘the biggest risk of spread that has been identified is the cultural practices occurring at funerals’.

Mkhize has arrived in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) on Wednesday and is expected to address the media at the South End fire station. He will also attend a mass screening and testing site in Zwide, Port Elizabeth, later in the day, the NMB municipality has said in a statement.

“We immediately took a decision to urgently deploy more medical experts including senior epidemiologists, analysts and field consultants to reinforce the provincial team, led by Dr Kerrigan McCarthy from the NICD,” the minister said in a statement on Tuesday after his visit to various sites in Buffalo City metro.

“We are also pleased that the World Health Organisation has also assisted us by deploying more clinicians and experts. in his response to  to the province,” the minister said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The Eastern Cape health department has welcomed Mkhize’s decision. This will go a long way in helping the Eastern Cape to flatten the Covid-19 curve. The experts will give guidance and work with our dedicated health professionals as the fight against the coronavirus continues,” the province said.

“The national director Mziwamadoda Neti, an epidemiologist, will visit some hospitals to do an audit of personal protective equipment. This is because the department views the allegations that some of our facilities do not have PPEs seriously.

“Superintendent-General Dr Thobile Mbengashe issued a directive earlier this month, instructing all health workers from cleaners to doctors to wear PPEs at all times.

“It is important that all our staff have the PPEs as they help prevent the spread of the pandemic,” the provincial health department said.

It said the team of experts who arrived on Tuesday in the province will report  directly to both MEC, Sindiswa Gomba, and health Minister Mkhize.

“They will give  Daily updates regarding their work in the province. The team to work with the health experts will be established by Thursday.”

The team of experts, which includes doctors who have worked on other outbreaks, will also work with the department of correctional services which has recorded 87 positive cases at the East London facility.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay


By ANA Reporter


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