Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize addresses journalists at the South End fire station in Port Elizabeth. Picture: Supplied/Eastern Cape Department of Health
Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize addresses journalists at the South End fire station in Port Elizabeth. Picture: Supplied/Eastern Cape Department of Health

Nelson Mandela Bay identified as a hotspot for Covid-19: health department

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Apr 22, 2020

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Port Elizabeth - Nelson Mandela Bay has been identified as a hotspot for Covid-19 in the province, spokesperson for the Eastern Cape department of health, Sizwe Kupela, told African News Agency (ANA), after Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize's visit to the metro on Wednesday.

Dismissing media reports that the minister had cut short his visit to Nelson Mandela Bay, Kupela said that Mkhize had made "significant interventions in Nelson Mandela Bay".

"Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has taken significant steps to deal with Covid-19 in Nelson Mandela Bay," Kupela said.

"Nelson Mandela Bay has been identified as a major Hotspot for Covid-19 in the province," he said.

"And immediate steps have been announced," he added, including the appointment of a senior health official to manage Nelson Mandela Bay.

Mkhize told journalists at the press briefing in Nelson Mandela Bay that after an urgent meeting with national and district health officials, the team decided on a rapid course of action to curb the spread of the pandemic coronavirus in The Bay.

Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize addresses journalists at the South End fire station in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday during his visit to Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape. Picture: Supplied/Eastern Cape Department of Health

This included cutting short the processes at national level to allow for swift replenishing of personal protective equipment (PPE) for Nelson Mandela Bay and the rest of the province.

Many of the problems in Nelson Mandela Bay were linked to historic shortages of staff and adequate health facilities, he said. 

Within the next two weeks, he said, the department of public works would prepare more hospitals to admit patients. He also said that additional staff would be recruited and that more vehicles for mass screening and testing in the district would be brought to the metro.

Mkhize said that people who had been in contact with Covid-19 positive individuals would be quarantined and that those who have been infected with the virus would be isolated.

Deputy director general: clinical services, Dr Litha Matiwane, has been placed in Port Elizabeth to oversee and manage the Covid-19 team and its efforts to flatten of the curve in Nelson Mandela Bay.

After his arrival in Buffalo City metro, Eastern Cape, on Tuesday the minister immediately raised his concern at the rapid increase of Covid-19 cases in the province. 

Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize said that after an urgent meeting with national and district health officials earlier, the team decided on rapid action to deal with the pandemic in The Bay. Picture: Supplied/Eastern Cape Department of Health

"We immediately took a decision to urgently deploy more medical experts including senior epidemiologists, analysts and field consultants to reinforce the provincial team, led by Dr Kerrigan McCarthy from the NICD," the minister said in a statement on Tuesday after his visit to various sites in Buffalo City metro. 

"We are also pleased that the World Health Organisation has also assisted us by deploying more clinicians and experts," the minister said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The Eastern Cape health department has welcomed Mkhize's decision. This will go a long way in helping the Eastern Cape to flatten the Covid-19 curve. The experts will give guidance and work with our dedicated health professionals as the fight against the coronavirus continues," the province said.

African News Agency (ANA)

* 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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