Pretoria – A vaccination team was attacked by five gun-toting assailants and robbed of vaccination programme gadgets, including three tablets and a smartphone belonging to the government, plus six cellphones belonging to the team of health-care workers who were in Soshanguve, in northern Tshwane.
“The Gauteng department of health condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack on a Tshwane District vaccination team yesterday (Saturday) in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, at around 9am. Five armed men who were in a white Toyota Quantum at Wonder City taxi rank in Soshanguve, robbed the vaccination team at gunpoint,” said Gauteng health spokesperson Kwara Kekana.
In another incident, Kekana said a vehicle belonging to the West Rand health district services was hijacked while it was ferrying mobile site equipment and gazebos in Chamdor, Kagiso.
“The cases of robbery for both incidents have been opened at Soshanguve and Kagiso police stations,” she said.
“Fortunately no team members were harmed in both cases and counselling will be provided to the affected staff.”
Kekana said the “senseless acts” occurred at a time when the province is ramping up the vaccination programme by activating more vaccination sites in all the districts.
“Our health-care workers remain the backbone of the health system, even during the pandemic, as they continue to play a pivotal role in terms of vaccination-programme rollout,” she said.
“We call on all members of society to work with law-enforcement agencies and share any information they might have on the two incidents.”
On Saturday, South Africa recorded 16 366 new Covid-19 cases and 21 Covid-19-related deaths, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).
“Today the institute reports 16 366 new Covid-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3 020 569,” the NICD said in a statement.
The institute said this increase represents a 23.8% positivity rate.
“As per the National Department of Health, a further 21 Covid-19-related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 89 965 to date.”
According to the institute, a total of 19 715 126 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors.
Gauteng remains the epicentre of Covid-19 cases, as it accounts for 71% of all the cases.