Chinese embassy distributes food parcels, face masks in Tshwane
PRETORIA – The Chinese embassy in South Africa on Monday donated food parcels to the impoverished community of Refilwe in Cullinan, east of Pretoria.
“We are greatly honoured to be here to co-organise this donation ceremony together with the ANC Women’s League, led by its president Bathabile Dlamini," said Li Nan, chargé d'affaires of the embassy.
"Since the lockdown in South Africa, the people of South Africa have responded actively to the government’s call and made important contributions and huge sacrifices for the prevention and control of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"However, as an unintended consequence of the lockdown, many people have encountered the inconveniences and difficulties of work and life. Today’s donation of these 1,000 food parcels, worth R200,000 is part of our concerted efforts to support our friends."
Li said he realised that 1,000 food parcels were "far from enough", but said that the donation represented the "cordial brotherhood and friendship of the people of China". He said South Africa and China had elevated their bilateral relationship to fight Covid-19.
“Earlier this year, at the most difficult time of China's fight against the pandemic, the South African government and people stood firmly with China. President Cyril Ramaphosa wrote to President Xi twice to express his valuable support, and has voiced his support for China's anti-pandemic efforts on many occasions,” said Li.
“A number of South African enterprises, including the Standard Bank of South Africa, the Sun International Group and U-Mask Company, generously donated anti-pandemic supplies to China. We will never forget about this.”
The chargé said the Chinese government, led by Xi, had “achieved a decisive victory over Covid-19”, and had the pandemic under control, but was still facing the pressure of a resurgence in infections in some places, such as Beijing.
The coronavirus was first detected in the Wuhan province of China, in December 2019.
The embassy also donated face masks to the Refilwe community on Monday, as part of intensified efforts to arrest the spread of the virus in South Africa.
As of Sunday, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa was 138,134, with 6,334 new cases identified. Forty-three new Covid-19-related deaths were reported, bringing the total to 2,456, health minister Zweli Mkhize said.
"We are seeing a rapid rise in the cumulative number of positive Covid-19 cases indicating that, as we had expected, we are approaching a surge during the latter winter months of July and August," he said.
It was anticipated that while every province would witness an increase in their numbers, areas with high economic activity would experience an exponential rise, beginning with Gauteng and the Western Cape and followed by the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
"We believe that within the coming days, Gauteng will emerge with the highest Covid-19 numbers. Factors contributing to this trend are inward migration, the large population (especially in metros like Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, and Tshwane), increased congregating which spurs cluster outbreaks, and the level to which people are able to adapt to new behaviours such as social distancing and the wearing of masks.
"We have identified the need to increase Covid-19 hospital beds in this province and we will be supporting the province to ensure that they are capacitated to meet the rising demands," he said.
In addition to regular hand washing, physical distancing, and the correct wearing of masks at all times, early case detection, contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation were the key armaments in the toolbox to break the cycle of infection. The province was being engaged to strengthen its contact tracing and quarantine/isolation uptake, said the minister.