KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Premier Sihle Zikalala concerned as KZN districts cross the Covid-19 third wave line

By Xolile Bhengu Time of article published Jul 8, 2021

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DURBAN - KWAZULU-NATAL Premier Sihle Zikalala has expressed concern about the Amajuba, uThukela, uMzinyathi, uMgungundlovu and Zululand districts recording high Covid-19 case numbers and said this showed a pattern of a resurgence.

A special sitting by the Provincial Command Council yesterday received the latest report on the Covid-19 infection rate in KwaZulu-Natal, which paints a bleak picture of approaching danger as KZN districts cross the third wave line.

The province had a percentage change of 45% in the number of new cases received in the past week. The average number of cases recorded daily had increased from 859 to 1 261 within a seven-day period.

The numbers of daily hospital isolations were also reported to be showing a steady increase in both private and public hospitals, including in ICU and patients requiring ventilation. The report attributed the rise to risky behaviour, including lack of adherence to non-pharmaceutical measures and the continued holding of social gatherings and parties.

In addition, movement from provinces adjoining KwaZulu-Natal, such as Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Free State, meant that the province was likely to see a peak in the number of infections.

The Provincial Executive Council (PEC) also received an update of the vaccination roll-out in the province. The vaccination programme was launched at Prince Mshiyeni Hospital in uMlazi by Premier Zikalala in February this year.

The province is leading nationally in all the vaccination categories such as health-care workers, teachers and those over 60 years of age.

The province is now embarking on a vaccination drive with a key focus on rural areas where the turnout for vaccinations is less impressive.

The government said it was calling on all amakhosi, councillors and izinduna to assist in ensuring that citizens in the qualifying categories in rural areas were assisted to register and to get their vaccinations.

Spokesperson in the Premier’s Office, Lennox Mabaso said the department was appealing to the public to be extra vigilant.

“Health experts are hitting warning dials for the province, and more than ever we are asking every individual to play their part to ensure that we curb a third wave,” he said.

Zikalala also convened the provincial council on HIV/Aids which commended the work done in terms of the response plan in managing the HIV/Aids pandemic under the 90-90-90 initiative.

The PEC noted the need for continued focus on HIV and Aids alongside the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It said the stakeholders have committed to ensuring that there was no lowering of the guard in fighting the HIV/Aids pandemic and that all approaches were integrated to address both the Covid-19 and HIV/Aids pandemics. The Provincial Council on Aids undertook to continue to support structures at district and local level in this regard.

Mabaso said the provincial government would ensure that the Covid-19 pandemic did not overshadow efforts to conquer HIV/Aids or gender-based violence.

THE MERCURY

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