Coronavirus hot-spots: North West, Free State now on Mkhize’s radar


Our coronavirus hot-spots may not just be confined to the Western Cape or Gauteng. Both North West and Free State are giving Zweli Mkhize another headache.

Zweli Mkhize appeared in a hybrid session of Parliament on Wednesday, addressing the house about the government’s ongoing response to the coronavirus crisis. The health minister was unable to sugarcoat his speech, which confirmed that South Africa and its hot-spots are now heading for a ‘surge’ in cases.

Coronavirus: Where are South Africa’s hot-spots?

He told the National Assembly that South Africans are currently trapped in the eye of the storm, following another 10 000 positive tests on Tuesday. Mkhize also highlighted that Gauteng would become the epicentre of the disease, overtaking the Western Cape. But it’s not just these two provinces causing headaches for the health department.

Mkhize revealed that, since South Africa moved to Level 3 restrictions over five weeks ago, North West and Free State became ‘registered hot spots’. Their growth in coronavirus cases increased significantly in the month of June, with North West’s number of positive tests rising ten-fold.

North West, Free State on Mkhize’s radar

Free State has also seen its caseload double within the past seven days. Behind the ‘big four’ provinces, these two regions have experienced the most localised outbreaks of COVID-19 in South Africa. But the skyrocketed amount of cases elsewhere means that the definition of a ‘hot-spot’ may have to change:

“Between Level 4 and Level 3 (after 1 June), the number of COVID cases increased across the provinces. During Level 4 of the lockdown the Western Cape, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal had hotspots using the ‘less than five, greater than five’ number of the active cases definition.”

“However, after moving to Level 3 of the lockdown, two additional provinces – North West and Free State – became registered hotspots. Due to the increasing number of cases, the ‘less than five, greater than five’ number of active cases definition will need to be revised.”

Zweli Mkhize

Coronavirus cases in North West and Free State

North West:

  • Total cases: 6 842
  • Active cases: 5 471
  • Recoveries: 1 335
  • Fatalities: 36
  • Percentage of all cases in SA: 3.2%

Free State:

  • Total cases: 3 034
  • Active cases: 2 487
  • Recoveries: 528
  • Fatalities: 19
  • Percentage of all cases in SA: 1.4%

Managing the hot-spots

Zweli Mkhize went on to state that medical professionals have handled their screening requirements in coronavirus hot-spots well, boasting that over 20 million South Africans have now been screened for symptoms:

“Screenings in identified hotspot areas and emerging hot-spots show that the Community Screening and Testing (CST) programme has assisted in active case finding amongst high transmission communities which have allowed our provinces to divert resources to the district or sub-district level.” 

“It has ensured that more than 20 million people have been screened. We have used a differentiated approach in our response through a classification of districts as areas of ‘vigilance’ and ‘hotspots’. In all areas the focus continues to be on prevention of new infections, containment, mitigation and recovery.”

Source: The South African Read More

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