OR Tambo Johannesburg - South Africa - Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - Dr Zweli Mkhize, South African Minister of Health, on a visit to the Eastern Cape has expressed concern at the rapid increase of the Covid-19 cases in the province. The minister immediately dispatched a team of medical experts to assist the provincial team in dealing with curbing the spread of the virus. File picture: AP/Themba Hadebe
OR Tambo Johannesburg - South Africa - Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - Dr Zweli Mkhize, South African Minister of Health, on a visit to the Eastern Cape has expressed concern at the rapid increase of the Covid-19 cases in the province. The minister immediately dispatched a team of medical experts to assist the provincial team in dealing with curbing the spread of the virus. File picture: AP/Themba Hadebe

Infection rates among essential services workers a concern, says Mkhize

By Lou-Anne Daniels Time of article published Apr 27, 2020

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Cape Town - The increasing number of Covid-19 infections among workers in sectors providing essential services during the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus is cause for concern, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told a Parliamentary briefing on Monday.

Mkhize was addressing a joint meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Health and the Select Committee on Health and Social Services.

The minister said cluster outbreaks of the virus in these essential workplaces necessitated a new approach to the containment of infections.

Commenting on the easing of lockdown restrictions to Level 4 on May 1, Mkhize cautioned that permitted businesses in some areas may be forced to shut down again if the virus transmission rate in those regions were found to be particularly high. 

"There will be areas where the lockdown may have been lifted, but in this particular area it may not be helpful to do so," Mkhize said.

He made the example of a number of Shoprite stores in Cape Town which were temporarily closed due to concerns around the virus. 

He also explained that people living in densely populated communities and informal settlements may be temporarily moved to quarantine sites to prevent them possibly infecting more people.

"In particular, densely populated communities will be difficult to deal with because of the numbers of people who can be exposed through one person. In particular, isolation, treatment at home and quarantine becomes more difficult. So we have had to bring in the aspect quarantine sites where people can be quarantined outside their communities," Mkhize said.

Mkhize said changes in the virus outbreak were being observed on a daily basis. He said currently social gatherings like funerals and densely populated areas like correctional facilities was where the bulk of the new infections were coming from. 

IOL

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's special #Coronavirus page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za 

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