Picture: Steve Parsons/Pool via Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Steve Parsons/Pool via Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

Eastern Cape Health department expecting surge in Covid-19 infections

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published May 27, 2020

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Cape Town - The Eastern Cape Health department said it is expecting a surge in new infections as the country moves to Alert Level 3 of the lockdown from June 1.

However, the department said the fight is far from over. Sizwe Kupelo, department spokesperson said the fact that they have 1 373 active cases of the coronavirus "is testament to their dedication in saving lives."

Kupelo said not much has been said about the 1 491 people that have recovered from the deadly virus in the province.

"From 2 864 confirmed cases to now having 1 373 active cases, our nurses and doctors have been our heroes without capes," he said.

Kupelo said unfortunately, some of their health workers are part of the 70 people that have lost their lives to the pandemic.

"Like the soldiers they were, our workers died with their boots on. They died on the frontline of this epic fight. They died protecting all 6.6 million of us in the Eastern Cape," Kupelo said.

He said those included health workers both in the private sector and in government facilities. "Those left behind are continuing with the fight against this invisible enemy.

Kupelo said until such a time a vaccine has been found, their workers from general assistants to porters, clerks, nurses and doctors, will continue reporting for duty and treating everyone, including those who have been infected with Covid-19.

He said the department has been criticised for what some have labelled as poor handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the department, yes, they had challenges "like any other province because this pandemic is new to us all, but at all times our objective has always been to save people's lives."

Kupelo called on everyone to adhere to the regulations, practice good personal hygiene by washing their hands with soap and water regularly, keeping a distance of at least 2 metres from others and wearing masks when out in public.

"If we can all do that, our health system and workers will not be overwhelmed by a huge number of new infections," he said. 

The Eastern Cape government had recently welcomed 20 Cuban doctors to East London on Monday last week. Of those, six of them were welcomed by Nelson Mandela Bay’s Interim Mayor Thsonono Buyeye on Monday this week.

Buyeye said the team of specialists included three doctors, one engineer, one epidemiologist and one bio-statician.

Speaking at the welcoming ceremony held at the Livingstone Hospital, Buyeye said: “We go to the trenches with you in the fight to reclaim our right to live, our sense of community and togetherness. The enemy we face now does not discriminate against race, gender, or social distancing. Covid-19 is our common enemy and must be defeated if we are to prosper as cities and nations.”

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* 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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