Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has appealed to the public to take the Covid-19 seriously as the situation was getting out of hand.
On Monday, 1 011 871 cumulative cases of the virus were confirmed, as well as 27 071 deaths since March. Just under 850 000 people have recovered from the virus in the same period.
Briefing the media along with other ministers serving on the National Coronavirus Command Council, Mkhize said hospitals were fuller than they were during the first wave in June, July and August.
“As of now, many private hospitals are full. There are many (patients) that must go to public hospitals,” he said. Mkhize reiterated that it was important for the people to behave and wear a mask, sanitise and wash hands.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that wearing a mask in public was mandatory and those who did not comply could be arrested, fined or imprisoned for up to six months.
Mkhize also said those who were on quarantine should stay at home during the 10-day period so as not to spread the infections.
He urged the youths to behave and warned them about returning home only to infect the elderly, who may get sick.
Mkhize explained that the ban on alcohol sales was because the hospitals were getting full. The problem with alcohol is that people forget to maintain social distance.
He also said hospitals were also filled by Covid-19 patients and those that were injured.
He noted that the new Covid-19 variant was making people more sick and urged them to treat the pandemic just as they did when it broke out the first time.
Mkhize said the processes to get the Covid-19 vaccine were underway. As of now, we are waiting not beyond April. We try to get them before that.
He also said the health care workers and emergency personnel were set to be the first to receive the vaccine along with the elderly.
Mkhize also pleaded with the public to bury their loved ones quickly to avoid more infections when people pay their respects to homes of the deceased.
He added that people that must be discharged from hospitals to create space for Covid-19 patients. Numbers could increase when people go to their homes and workplaces.
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