200 Cuban medics to help SA fight Covid-19

Just over 200 Cubans, including doctors, are on their way to South Africa to assist in the battle against the spread of Covid-19.

The medical personnel will land at OR Tambo International Airport on Sunday and will go straight into quarantine for 14 days in Pretoria. About 30 Cubans will be assigned to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the rest will assist the department of health. 

“These are doctors who have been to Europe and elsewhere, who understand the signs and symptoms of the virus and the clinical management of the Covid-19 and how to treat it,” said health department spokesperson Popo Maja.

Their arrival follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that South Africa’s now five-week national lockdown will be eased. From May 1, there will be a phased reopening of the economy. 

He also said he had deployed more than 70 000 SANDF personnel to assist in the response to Covid-19. Ramaphosa said the defence force assistance will not be limited to supporting the police in enforcing lockdown regulations but will include providing health services, infrastructure maintenance and water. 

Early this month the government said it had met the Cuban ambassador to South Africa, Rodolfo Benitez, in March and that the Cubans had shown interest in providing assistance. 

At the time of publishing there were 4 220 confirmed cases of Covid-19, 79 deaths and 1 473 recoveries.  

One of the most worrying provinces in the country is the Eastern Cape, where Health Minister Zweli Mkhize had to intervene and send a team to assist with the tracing, screening and testing of people, particularly in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality. 

On Tuesday, the province’s numbers rose to about 10% of the national infection tally and Mkhize said more medical specialists, including epidemiologists, analysts and field consultants should be deployed there. About 200 cases of Covid-19 have been linked to three funerals in that province, as people fail to adhere to lockdown regulations and continue to gather in big numbers. 

In Port Elizabeth alone 160 cases have been registered as result of two funerals, and the 40 cases in the coastal town of Port St Johns are also linked to a funeral. 

The arrival of the Cubans in the country could assist with curbing the spread of the virus particularly in the provinces where the numbers are increasing rapidly. 

On Thursday night, Ramaphosa said there would be a smart lockdown, with provinces and regions going through different levels of measures depending on how Covid-19 is spreading. This could mean that some provinces are seeing a more severe lockdown than their neighbours. 

Keep the powerful accountable

Subscribe for R30/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Thanduxolo Jika
Thanduxolo Jika

Thanduxolo Jika is an investigative Journalist and Co-Author of We are going to kill each other today:The Marikana Story. The Messiah of Abantu.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Police were left dangling during July unrest, KZN top cop...

Whoever organised the unrest in response to the pending arrest of Jacob Zuma was responsible for the lethal violence that followed, the KZN police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi said.

Urgent interdict filed to block Shell’s Wild Coast seismic survey

Shell’s 3D seismic survey is set to begin on Wednesday. But a high court application brought by rights groups to block it will be heard as an urgent matter on Tuesday

Police intelligence surprised by July unrest ‘modus operandi’

Minister of police only receives information from national commissioner that relates to him, commission hears

Sars appeals to ConCourt to keep Zuma’s tax secrets

The high court ruled banning the release of tax information was unconstitutional. Sars disagrees, saying is not only wrong but makes an exception of the former president
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×