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Gauteng province’s Covid surge to spread to all S/Africa territory – Minister

South Africa's acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on Friday warned that the devastating third wave surge of the coronavirus pandemic…

South Africa’s acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on Friday warned that the devastating third wave surge of the coronavirus pandemic driven by Gauteng province would spread to other regions of the country.With over 16,000 confirmed cases overnight on Friday, the virus claimed 148 lives – leaving South Africa with a death toll of 59,406 people since the outbreak 15 months ago, the health ministry said.

“I wish to open this press briefing, first by acknowledging the grave situation we find ourselves in as a country, as we battle a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Kubayi-Ngubane told journalists.

He added: “There should be no sense of complacency in other provinces which are all demonstrating upward trajectories, and the third wave in Gauteng will inevitably spill over into the rest of the country.”

Kubayi-Ngubane said this alongside Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu and a panel of experts who were briefing reporters on their government’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19, including an update on the national vaccination rollout programme which is currently inoculating 600,000 educators and staff.

She noted that Gauteng remained the epicentre of the pandemic in the country, accounting for the majority of 9,521 new cases (59%) reported overnight, followed by the Western Cape Province’s 1,912 infections (12%) during the same period.

She said the seven-day moving average graph showed that in Gauteng, the current third wave surge had passed the first two waves that the country had faced last year at the outbreak of the deadly disease. 

Kubayi-Ngubane said the country’s National Department of Health had activated its surge response, which is executed together with the UN World Health Organisation Surge Team deployed in the country.

The ministry had also employed 10 intervention areas that provinces must adopt to aid in the resurgence preparations and response, she added.

These include governance and leadership, medical supplies, port and environmental health, epidemiology, facility readiness, and case management, she said.

Other interventions and responses being used are risk communication and community engagement, occupational health and safety, infection prevention and control, and human resources, Kubayi-Ngubane said.

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