Health Minister Zweli Mkhize commemorated one year of COVID-19 at Greys Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday 5 March 2021. During his address, he thanked all South Africans for working together to fight the virus and said we are now — one year on — in a much better place as healthcare workers are being vaccinated. 

Mkhize was joined by the KZN Premier Sihle Zikilala and the MEC of Health Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu.  

COVID-19: MKHIZE LOOKS BACK ON THE LAST YEAR 

Mkhize said on Friday that one year prior, we all received the shocking news that the first patient who was diagnosed with COVID-19 had actually been identified. 

“We are here to look back at the year and thanks all South Africans for the fearless manner in which they approached the fight against COVID-19. I look back on this day as one of the days that really was filled with a lot of anxiety and trepidation,” he said. 

Mkhize said that at the time he had to call President Cyril Ramaphosa. He said it was a call he thought he would never have to make, however, he had to confirm that South Africa had its first COVID-19 positive. 

“It has been a very rough journey if one may say in that process, we have learnt a lot, we have made many mistakes and we have also achieved a lot,” he said. 

‘SA IS ON COURSE, WE DON’T HAVE THE SAME FEARS’ 

Mkhize said crunch time came when they noticed that the numbers were doubling every second day. 

“It became clear we had to create space to be able to absorb the number of patients that were coming,” he said.  

When the first patient was diagnosed, Mkhize said he came to Greys Hospital and his spirits were really lifted when nurses sang and assured him that they were ready to treat COVID-19 patients.

“When I spoke to the doctor looking after patient zero I was impressed to find that she was confident to look after the first COVID-19 patientsm,” said Mkhize. 

“We want to say South Africa is on course, we don’t have the same fear we had a year ago. Our health workers are currently receiving vaccines,” he added. 

READ: COVID-19 in SA: When exactly should we expect the third wave?

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Presh JM Reporter

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