As South Africa continues to battle the second wave, hope is being restored after reports that the Covid-19 vaccine rollout is due soon. With Deputy President David Mabuza set to head the rollout, many are hoping that it will bring relief to the struggling health sector. Briefly.co.za explores the latest updates about the ongoing pandemic.
South Africa has recorded 12 710 new cases as at 20 January 2021. There have been 566 deaths due to Covid-19 related complications. The Eastern Cape currently reported the highest number of deaths at 9716 since the pandemic started.
1. David Mabuza to head Covid-19 vaccine rollout
President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed his deputy, David Mabuza, to head the delivery of vaccines. Speaking on Tuesday, Ramaphosa welcomed the decreasing cases as a result of the lockdown. He thanked South Africans for playing their part in the downward trend.
“Cabinet was also briefed on the national Covid-19 Vaccine Roll-out Programme. The vaccination programme is the key intervention to mitigate the public health and economic impact of the Covid 19 pandemic. The roll-out programme entails procurement, distribution, actual vaccination, monitoring, communication and mobilisation.”
South Africans have had mixed reactions to the appointment of Mr. Mabuza to this task.
2. Zweli Mkhize unsure about possibility of third wave
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has said that he was not sure about the likelihood of a third wave of Covid-19 infections.
The minister urged South Africans to continue adhering to regulations set by the government to limit the spread of the virus.
Speaking in Modimolle, Limpopo, where he conducted a visit to a few healthcare facilities, Mkhize said:
“You can have a flare-up of COVID-19 that you may not necessarily predict and you cannot necessarily predict the size of the surge unless we take precautions. It’s possible that it can come back anytime.”
He went on to say that there were currently no predictions that indicated a third wave.
3. Cape Town’s Malone’s hospitals feel the strain
The second wave is straining the health sector as patients are admitted in the numbers. A report by SABC News showed that doctors at Melomed Hospitals in Cape Town were under heavy strain.
SABC reports that Head of Melomed Hospitals’ Trauma Unit, Dr Rafeeq Abrahams,said:
“For all the frontline workers it has been a very, very difficult time, a very trying time. I cannot begin to express how difficult it is for some of these doctors to get up every day and face their fears and come into the emergency units.”
Meanwhile, Briefly.co.za previously reported that Dr Zweli Mkhize is being dragged to court by lobby group AfriForum and Solidarity over the decision to centralise the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines from global pharmaceutical companies.
The groups have expressed their mistrust of the South African government. They would prefer to source vaccines as private entities.
Earlier this month, Mkhize announced that government was in discussion with a few manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines around the world. This was in a bid to ensure that at least 67% of the population got vaccinated.
However, the barring of the private sector from procuring the vaccines independently has not been met well by the Western Cape provincial government and a few other groups.
Solidarity’s head of research, Connie Mulder, has slammed the government, claiming that their decision would cause a stall in the rollout of the vaccine. Speaking on Sunday, Mulder said that the delay would result in the virus lasting at least two more years.
He went on to accuse the government of barring private entities from moving forward to mask their own failure of procuring the vaccine. Solidarity and AfriForum will be challenging the decision in court. The organisations released a joint statement which explained their stance.
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