Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has praised frontline health workers, calling them “heroes” in the fight against COVID-19.
Mkhize on Wednesday delivered an executive statement on the pandemic in the National Assembly.
He said as at the end of June, more than 4,800 healthcare workers were reported to have been infected with the coronavirus across the country.
Mkhize said the Western Cape accounted for 68% of infected healthcare workers with almost 3,300 confirmed cases.
He said most of them were nurses, followed by other healthcare professionals, including community health workers and doctors.
For this reason, Mkhize dedicated part of his address to healthcare workers.
“I’d like to say that they’re our heroes. We salute you and appreciate your dedication and commitment to the nation.”
He said several interventions were in place to address infections among workers.
“Guidelines to support all healthcare workers were developed. A training programme was designed to enhance their understanding of the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, Mkhize said that government may need to consider additional lockdown restrictions in parts of the country as infections continued to rise.
However, he said that no decisions had been taken yet. “We are concerned with the rising numbers. Gauteng is the one area where the numbers have shot up quite high, although we did expect that they would be rising to the levels which they are doing now.”
Mkhize said that too many South Africans were still not taking the pandemic seriously.
The minister also warned the COVID-19 storm that he’s been warning South Africans about had arrived.