South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has told South Africans not to be alarmed by the rising numbers of fatalities due to COVID-19, but be prepared to limit the impact of the disease.
Ramaphosa said his country is likely to see the cases due to COVID-19 shoot up to 50,000 and the death toll surpassing the 1,000 mark in the coming weeks, as the pamdemic hits its peak in Africa’s largest economy.
“Over the coming weeks, as we watch the coronavirus infections continue to rise, we must remember that we are not helpless. And we should remember one simple, but fundamental, message: Don’t be alarmed. Be prepared.” He said in a speech published on Monday.
By Sunday, South Africa had recorded 48,285 cases of coronavirus and 998 deaths, the highest number of cases on the continent. He said his government has the ability to manage the spread of the virus.
“As we watch the number of infections rise further – probably far faster than most of us imagined – we should be concerned, but not alarmed. That is because we have the ability, as individuals, communities and as a country, to limit the impact of the disease on our people.” He said.
He however warned that although the country has made progress in controlling the spread of coronavirus, much more still needs to be done in the coming weeks to meet the expected demand especially in the Western Cape Province -the epicenter of the pandemic.
“I was impressed by the preparations the Western Cape is making to contain infections and to ensure that there are enough beds, staff and medical supplies to accommodate the rapidly increasing number of people needing hospitalization. They are increasing the number of beds by setting up field hospitals, including at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.” he stated.
President Ramaphosa noted that even with the preparations government has made in the area, they will need more bed capacity as the disease reaches its peak including additional funding and health personnel.
Cyril however expressed optimism that with measures put in place including the lockdown and mass awareness on preventive strategies, South Africans can slow the spread of the disease, and they should continue to take all measures possible to continue to flatten the infection curve.
“Most importantly, we must be prepared to reduce the number of deaths by implementing the necessary health measures.” he noted.