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. 

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

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

G is for glamour, not garage shop

Pantry by Marble is disrupting the forecourt shop status quo by offering restaurant-quality services on site

If the state won’t deal with civil war criminals, then...

Liberia decided not to prosecute anyone for crimes committed during its first and second civil wars. Now, one organisation is documenting and aiding prosecution outside the country

Home Suite Hotel: A hidden gem in Sea Point

Founded by the man behind LIFT Airlines, Gidon Novick, Home Suite Hotel knows a thing or two about curating a fresh experience on an old concept.

Latest design and foodie trends at Durban Home Garden Show

The event celebrates 40 years of the city’s design scene. The 2022 edition brings together fashion folk, beer culture, architecture and greenery, while giving visitors their cultural fix
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×