With 60 new deaths, 2 642 new infections, South Africa to deploy military as COVID-19 cases top 43,000
London, June 6, 2020 (AltAfrica)-South Africa is preparing to send military personnel to its COVID-19 epicenter to help tackle further spread of the disease.
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa has risen by 2 642 to 43 434 in the past 24 hours, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Friday. The country has also recorded 60 more deaths related to the coronavirus.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Friday that South Africa military were being readied for deployment to the Western Cape province, as the country’s cases surged past 43,000.
South Africa is Africa’s worst affected country by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Western Cape province, a popular tourist destination, accounts for more than 66 percent of South Africa’s infections and over 70 percent of its deaths.
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers line of march to the South African National Defence Force ahead of the national lockdown at the Doornkop Military Base in Johannesburg #LockdownSA #CoronaVirusSA #StayHomeSA pic.twitter.com/RJ073snbb1— GCIS Media Liaison (@GCISMedia) March 26, 2020
The surge in infections sparked fears that the province’s health care system would soon be overwhelmed.
President Ramaphosa vowed to bring in military medical practitioners and redeploy civilian healthcare workers from other less affected provinces.
“The Western Cape is the epicentre of COVID-19 infections and this concerns us deeply,” he said during a visit to the province’s capital Cape Town.
He noted that the military was “ready to bring in defence military personnel who will be able to come to the province immediately to lend a hand”.
“We must pull out all stops to save lives.”
“This a war that we must win, we cannot sit back and be defeated by COVID-19 on the basis that we didn’t have enough staff members,” he said during a meeting with the provincial authorities led by the opposition Democratic Alliance.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, South Africa imposed a strict lockdown that limited movement, but which also hit the economy hard.
The government has been easing the lockdown gradually and restarting the economy, but focus remains on fighting the spread of the disease.