Professor Lynn Morris interim director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has a lifetime of experience fighting viruses. She has encountered HIV, Ebola, TB, Listeria, Klebsiella, a multitude of ‘lesser’ pathogens and now COVID-19. However, she thinks that COVID-19, the name given for the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, presents one of the greatest challenges yet to both South Africa and the world.
There are now 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Africa with most people in their 30s, the oldest being 57. With the global spread of the virus researchers, who inform medical and public health strategies, are working to find out who is most at risk of infection, severe illness and death.
Shortly after Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced South Africa’s latest tally of 13 confirmed COVID-19 cases – Spotlight got a glimpse of the isolation unit at Tygerberg Hospital where three patients are currently in isolation and awaiting test results to see if they are infected.
When Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku was sworn in last year, he committed to turn the department around – a department the Gauteng premier described as ‘on its knees’. Spotlight sat down with Masuku to talk about staff morale, COVID-19, NHI, Mamelodi Hospital, and more.
MPs were caught up in a foxtrot of hypotheticals and assurances over COVID-19 with Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and senior officials in Parliament today. Mkhize and his department briefed MPs in the Portfolio Committee on Health on COVID-19 ahead of a debate on South Africa’s readiness for an outbreak in the National Assembly tomorrow.
As students in Wuhan anxiously await the go-ahead to fly home to South Africa, cabin fever sets in as their movements are severely restricted. They are isolated in their rooms and worry about the planned quarantine period.
After two months in constant lockdown, with the ever-persistent fear of being infected with the coronavirus, a Free State student can’t wait to return to South Africa – even if it means spending 21 days in quarantine.
How prepared is South Africa really for COVID-19? Spotlight and Daily Maverick sent government a combined list of 22 questions aiming to get beyond the hype and into the nitty-gritty of how and on what legal authority measures will be taken.