Health Minister Joe Phaahla says 66 healthcare facilities have been affected by the recent flooding in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Minister provided an update on Government’s interventions to assist flood-affected residents.

He says assistance is also being provided to residents and healthcare facilities in the Eastern Cape.

Phaahla says the priority now is to ensure that those with injuries, and those patients who are on chronic medications, get urgent medical attention.

Authorities are hard at work finalizing all post-mortem examinations, on the more than 430 people who died in the KwaZulu-Natal floods.

He says more than 60 school-going children died in the floods.

The Minister says it is important to determine exactly how these people died so that their family members can find closure.

The confirmed death toll stands at 435, with 55 people that are still missing.

Watch the minister’s full briefing here.

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The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says if the next wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is worse than expected, the national state of disaster could be reinstated.

The next wave is expected in May, or June this year.

Dlamini-Zuma says the health department will then give advice on whether the state of disaster should be reactivated.

She says this will happen if infection rates are high and the country’s hospitals start filling up.

Watch the full briefing here.

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The Democratic Alliance says the government cannot extend the State of Disaster every month. The DA is now set to legally challenge the State of Disaster.

In a speech on Thursday 17 March, DA leader John Steenhuisen said: “All signs are that the government will continue to extend the State of Disaster until it has permanent legislation that can keep the lockdown in place.” He added: “The only state of disaster that the country is in, is the self-imposed one caused by ongoing restrictions which do more harm than good. It is time to focus all our energies on regaining and transcending what has been lost.”

The State of Disaster was extended to 15 April 2022 which would mean that its 25 months since the emergency legislation was first introduced.

Steenhuisen said: “I have today instructed our attorneys to bring an urgent court challenge to Tuesday’s irrational and unreasonable extension of the State of Disaster. But it’s not enough just to end the State of Disaster. The lockdown itself must end. It can’t just become permanent legislation, as the government is trying to do.”

At the same time, the National Department of Health has asked for public comment with regards to health measures to replace the State of Disaster. The government wants public input on how it proposes transitioning out of the Covid-19 regulations, giving the public 29 days in which to comment on new regulations. And, Health Minister Dr. Joe Phaahla said he believes face masks should outlive the national state of disaster on the coronavirus, and possibly stick around for a long time yet after new draft rules were published this week.

Under those rules, face masks would remain mandatory in 3 broad areas. This includes gathering in an indoor public place, using any form of public transport, and entering public premises.

According to Business Insider, companies would be required to provide face masks to employees.

 

 

Health Minister Dr. Joe Phaahla says he is concerned about the decline in the number of Covid-19 vaccinations that are now, on a daily basis, being administered across the country.

Phaahla says during the height of the country’s vaccination campaign up to 300,000 injections were being administered on a daily basis.

The figure has now dropped to below 100,000 per day.

The Minister says it is especially young people who do not register for and go for their injections.

Access the full briefing here.

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The Minister of Health Dr. Joe Phaahla says the country has, to date, administered more than 30.3-million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to residents.

Phaahla met with the head of the WHO, dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus.

Ghebreyesus was here in the Mother City and visited the Afrigen Biologics & Vaccines facility in Montague Gardens.

Phaahla says the country has made a lot of progress over the last few months to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to residents.

The minister says one of the biggest challenges now is to get young people vaccinated.

Access the full briefing here.

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