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South Africa's COVID-19 death toll crosses 5K-mark; govt urges people to cooperate

Every single South African now needs to focus on adhering to recommendations pertaining to non-pharmaceutical interventions." Mkhize said the emerging laxity in basic measures was set to see soaring infections. “We are extremely concerned that fatigue seems to have set in and South Africans are letting down their guard at a time when the spread of infection is surging.

PTI | Johannesburg | Updated: 21-07-2020 07:49 IST | Created: 21-07-2020 07:49 IST
South Africa's COVID-19 death toll crosses 5K-mark; govt urges people to cooperate

As COVID-19 death toll in South Africa soared past 5,000, there was a tinge of desperation in the tone and choice of words of Health Minister Zweli Mkhize when he urged citizens to help the government in the fight against the deadly virus. There are now 3,64,328 confirmed coronavirus cases, 1,91,059 recoveries and 5,033 deaths in the country.

“As Government, we have mobilized every resource, every faculty and wherewithal at our disposal to effect the necessary interventions,” Mkhize said on Monday as he called on citizens to play their part. “But government cannot manage this unilaterally. Every single South African now needs to focus on adhering to recommendations pertaining to non-pharmaceutical interventions." Mkhize said the emerging laxity in basic measures was set to see soaring infections.

“We are extremely concerned that fatigue seems to have set in and South Africans are letting down their guard at a time when the spread of infection is surging. We see poor or no social distancing in communities. Masks are being abandoned or not worn properly and there is laxity setting in around frequent hand-washing," the minister said. Mkhize predicted that this would cause a huge rise in infection numbers within the ensuing fortnight.

“We must all appreciate that there is a direct causal link between the surge of cases and our ability, or inability, to adhere to these very basic principles," he said. “We do not have a vaccine. We do not have a cure. Our ability to break the cycle of infection depends on our willingness to remain focused and disciplined and take non-pharmaceutical interventions seriously,” Mkhize said. Mkhize said the cooperation between the government and the people would result in beating the pandemic.

“We can beat this pandemic together. We have already proved this during the lockdown" “It remains in each and every citizen’s hands to admonish family members, colleagues, and friends who refuse to adhere to measures that protect lives by limiting the spread of this virus,” Mkhize concluded. With Mkhize’s plea, social media was abuzz with pictures of masses of people at the funeral of struggle icon Zindzi Mandela, youngest daughter of the late President Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie.

Masks and social distancing were largely ignored at the service, with some politicians also sharing group photos ignoring these requirements. Calls have even been made for them to be charged, as not wearing a mask in public is now a punishable offence in terms of the lockdown regulations. Funerals are also restricted to a maximum of 50 people by the regulations.


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