Covid-19: Minister Mkhize takes on expert over lockdown criticism

Covid-19: Minister Mkhize takes on expert over lockdown criticism

- Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has responded to Professor Glenda Gray's public criticism of the government's decision regarding the lockdown

- Amongst numerous claims, Gray noted that hospitals were seeing patients with malnutrition for the first time in decades

- Mkhize defended the state's decisions amid the Covid-19 crisis, adamant that no advice had been ignored

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Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has responded to criticism levied against his department by Professor Glenda Gray.

In addition to noting the first cases of malnutrition seen in decades have been reported, Gray slammed the current lockdown:

“We believe, as scientists, that we give and are giving the government good advice and why they decided not to take the advice or engage readily with the scientists is unknown. Why have experts if you don’t care what they think? This strategy is not based on science and is completely unmeasured. Its almost as if someone is sucking regulations out of their thumb and implementing rubbish, quite frankly.”

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Minister Mkhize announces 19 137 cases, 369 fatalities

Mkhize explained that Gray's advice on the situation had been handed in alongside countless other advisors:

"I have seen it fit to give this detailed background in order to highlight that at no point has the Department of Health or Government as a whole ignored and not responded to the advice of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19. The statement made by Prof Glenda Gray is at the least devoid of the truth. Having read the article, I have been taken aback by the obvious inaccuracies it contains which have in my view, caused unnecessary sensationalism and doubt on the work and effort of the government in dealing with COVID-19."

Mkhize revealed that Gray had yet to submit her opinions before speaking to the media over the situation:

"Ironically, last week Prof Gray, as Chairperson of the Research Subcommittee was part of the team that was preparing an advisory to the Ministry of Health in relation to the lockdown. This advisory had not been submitted to the Minister of Health when Prof Gray elected to speak to the media. There was a platform that had been created but this was overlooked even before making input through the Department of Health channels. She elected to do so through the media."

The minister says the government is doing its best to reign in advice from across the world in the stand against Covid-19:

"We may not always agree but we will listen and consider input brought to us. We have said that government will not fight this pandemic alone. We need partners in our society to assist us with advice and even mobilizing social behaviour in order to manage the spread of this virus. It is for this reason that we appreciate various social partners who have pledged their support to this cause. We will continue to work together until we conquer this coronavirus battle."

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