Coronavirus: Minister brief South Africa on measures to combat virus

Coronavirus: Minister brief South Africa on measures to combat virus

- Several ministers have addressed South Africa on the action being taking in light of the coronavirus pandemic

- From schools being closed early to a suspension of government travel internationally, the measures were laid out

- explores what the various ministers had to say on the situation

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Following President Cyril Ramaphosa's declaration of a national disaster due to the coronavirus pandemic, ministers have held a press briefing on the situation.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has revealed testing will be dealt with on a district level, which is believed to be more effective than attempting to tackle it on a national scale:

"Where we think the situation is getting out of control... at some point, even lockdowns become necessary, but we hope not to get to those steps."

Mkhize explained the need to locate the source of the infections, revealing that only 15% of patients would require hospitalisation while 5% would require intensive care.

The minister further revealed that the total number of cases has risen to 61, with four more citizens awaiting the outcome of tests.

Mkhize highlighted the need to intervene at an early stage, cautioning that a delay in response could lead to the health system being overwhelmed.

READ ALSO: Ramaphosa on coronavirus: Thuma Mina is upon us like never before

The tracing operation for infections has approached 1 000 contacts in a short period of time, according to the minister.

Mkhize further signalled that the government is attempting to avoid a situation that requires a lockdown, calling for restrictions aimed at limiting contact to contain the virus.

Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande confirmed that a response team has been established.

Nzimande noted that the University of Cape Town has opted to close, with others opting to suspend contact lectures. A shutdown is not yet on the cards.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga confirmed that 10 school days will be lost as public schools follow Ramaphosa's instruction to close early.

This time lost will be regained during the mid-year break which will be shortened to compensate; all provinces were made aware of the instruction, gathered.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa noted that the restrictions limiting public gatherings will have a negative impact on the sector.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula revealed all military hospitals will have isolation areas and will be able to conduct scans.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has revealed that random testing will be conducted at taxi ranks and on trains.

Mbalula explained that foreigners from high-risk countries will be barred from entering South Africa.

Further to this, ACSA has distributed masks for all frontline staff at airports, with passenger assistance staff compelled to wear protective gear.

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