Covid-19: Mkhize warns third wave could hit entire South Africa

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 27, 2021


Cape Town - If the infection rate continues to rise and spread to other provinces, the entire country could be affected by the third wave, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has warned.

He told the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) yesterday that some of the provinces were in the third wave. If the infections hit other provinces, the third wave would engulf the country.

He called for people to continue using non-pharmaceutical interventions.

“As we have recently advised, we have seen the numbers rising again in the various provinces mainly Gauteng, the Northern Cape, Free State and the North West. Yesterday (Tuesday) we reached 10% positivity rate and we are now at 11%. We must register our concern that some of the provinces have declared themselves… in the third wave.

“If we maintain this trajectory, the whole country will be similarly declared. We, therefore, need to continue to adhere to non-pharmaceutical interventions and continue to increase our vaccination efforts.

“To fund the vaccine rollout, an additional R9 billion has been allocated to the department’s baseline, which is really for the next two years.”

Mkhize said the government wanted to increase the number of people who were getting the vaccine.

“The major issue all of us are concerned about is how we make sure that as many South Africans as possible are vaccinated and protected from Covid-19,” he said.

The government has come under fire over the slow pace of vaccination.

Some of the parties in the NCOP said the figures left a lot to be desired.

They questioned how the government would be able to reach its target of 67% population immunity by the end of the year when just over 700 000 people had been vaccinated.

Mkhize said the Health Council would meet soon to decide how they could get more people vaccinated.

He said the vaccines had been secured.

The intervention to increase the number of people on the vaccination programme was for the entire country rather than boosting numbers in any province.

Pharmaceutical companies have promised to deliver millions of doses in the next few months.

Mkhize said Pfizer has delivered 1.3 million doses and more were to be delivered.

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Political Bureau