South Africa has worryingly breached more than 500 000 cases of the coronavirus, and it is in that respect that President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged citizens to continue practicing the necessary health and safety measures until the pandemic is over.

In a statement on Saturday, 1 August 2020, Ramaphosa called on South Africans to maintain their vigilance and warned that failure to do so would lead to a resurgence of cases “in those areas where the virus has now begun to stabilise.”

Ramaphosa said above all, prevention measures needed to be followed to reduce the rate of infection and flatten the curve.

“By wearing a mask correctly, keeping a distance of two metres from other people, and washing our hands regularly, we can protect ourselves, our families, friends, co-workers, fellow commuters and neighbours”, he said.

‘Preventative measures are yielding results’

The president said after a rapid rise in infections over the last two months, the daily increase in infections appears to be stabilising, particularly in the Western Cape, Gauteng and Eastern Cape.

He said while it could be too soon to tell, this suggests that the prevention measures that South Africans have implemented are having an effect.

“Our recovery rate is currently around 68%. Our case fatality rate – which is the number of deaths as a proportion of confirmed cases – remains at 1.6%, significantly lower than the global average”, Ramaphosa said.

“While South Africa has the fifth highest number of total COVID-19 cases globally, we have only the 36th highest number of deaths as a proportion of the population. For this, we are grateful to the work of our health professionals and the innovative treatments they have pioneered”

The president further reiterated that the national lockdown, which he implemented in March, succeeded in delaying the spread of COVID-19 by more than two months.

“Had South Africans not acted together to prevent this outcome, our health system would have been overwhelmed in every province. This would have resulted in a dramatic loss of life”

Provision of additional resources

Ramaphosa also said provinces experiencing an increase in infections would receive more facilities, equipment and personnel.

He said they were working hard to fix the logistical and other problems that have led to a shortage of personal protective equipment for health workers and other frontline staff in several parts of the country.

“We understand the concerns and the frustrations of these essential workers and are committed to resolving this issue with the greatest urgency”, the president said.

This comes as the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) had expressed concern over the dire state of some facilities across the country.


Presh JM Reporter

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