Gauteng Premier David Makhura Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi / African News Agency (ANA)
Gauteng Premier David Makhura Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi / African News Agency (ANA)

Gauteng to increase Covid-19 testing to 3 000 a day, screen 5 million before flu season

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Apr 30, 2020

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Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the province aims to ramp-up Covid-19 testing in the province to 3 000 per day and screen 5 million people as the flu season approaches. 

Makhura briefed the media on Thursday and commended the recovery numbers the province has seen compared to rising confirmed cases. The province has 897 recoveries, 440 active cases and 11 deaths.

There are around 72 people admitted to hospitals, with four being on ventilators. 

Makhura said the lockdown was effective for the province in stabilising the rise in cases and also the increase in recoveries. 

He specifically pointed to the closure of OR Tambo International Airport having had an impact on rising cases. But he was also adamant there have been infections, but not at high levels. 

"The infection rate was increasing, especially when international travel was open. When OR Tambo was open, it was huge. In the last five weeks, we have been able to contain the numbers," Makhura said. 

Makhura outlined the rates of recovery as follows: 

Ekurhuleni at 72%

Joburg 67%

Tshwane 66%

Sidebeng 33%

West Rand 67%

The province has tested over 17 000 people and conducted over 1.3 million screening tests. He said the aim was to see testing increase to 3 000 per day, especially with the flu season approaching in May, June and July. 

"We want to get to testing 3 000 people a day in Gauteng, especially during the flu season in May, June and July. Testing tells us what we do not know. We must also be able to say there is something else that we do not know. 

"We can rush before there is a crisis. We must be able to see if there is a threat in a particular sector," he said. 

Makhura explained that as part of preparing for the flu season and dealing with the coronavirus infections, the province had also embarked on a large immunisation campaign against the flu. 

He said this was not a vaccine for the coronavirus, but it would help prepare for any possibility.

Over 30 000 healthcare officials have received vaccine shots for the flu, 30 000 pregnant women and over 70 000 people with compromised immune systems. In total, 211 000 people have been vaccinated for flu in the province.  

With preparations for an inflood of cases, Makhura said 8 300 beds were available in the public and private sector. 

Another 1 700 beds will be added to available facilities. Quarantine facilities, which include Nasrec, have 5 800 ICU beds. 

With healthcare having been neglected for years in some areas, Makhura said Covid-19 had provided the perfect opportunity health care improvement. He said the provincial government had learnt from the Esidimini tragedy.

Political Bureau

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