Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says 511 health workers have tested positive for the coronavirus. Mkhize said 26 of the group were hospitalised while two have died, a doctor and a nurse. A total of 149 health workers have recovered from the virus. Mkhzie was speaking at an event in Rustenburg where he and Minister of Energy Gwede Mantashe were to receive a donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) from Sibanye and Old Mutual.
The minister said given the fact that so many health workers have tested positive while on the line of duty, the need to ensure the supply of PPE was even more crucial. He said healthcare workers were like soldiers who go to war.
“They must be well trained, well-armed and well protected. We want them to be confident that they don’t get infected. At the end of the day, everything is about people. It is only when our people are healthy, that we will have a thriving economy. Improving our economy starts with good health for our people,” Mkhize said.
Mkhize also addressed the issue of a herb being used in Madagascar which has been touted as a possible cure for the coronavirus. He said they have received a call from the government of Madagascar which seeks South Africa’s research expertise in analysing the herb.
“We received a call from the government of Madagascar, who asked for help with scientific research. Our scientists would be able to assist with this research. We will only get involved in a scientific analysis of the herb. We are not at that point yet,” Mkhize said. The herb remedy has been controversial and the World Health Organization has cautioned its use as there was no scientific backing that it worked.