A member of medical staff swabs the mouth of a resident as she is testing him for a virus, during a nationwide lockdown for 21 days to try to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Alexandra, South Africa, on March 31, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)
South Africans have been urged to adhere to coronavirus precaution measures as the caseload and deaths continue to rise in the Africa's second biggest economy.
To date, it's the most affected country in the continent, with 350,879 cases and 4,948 deaths as of Sunday. It also has the sixth highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world.
In a statement on Sunday, Doctor Zweli Mkhize, the minister of health, said while the government had done its part, like mobilizing resources, faculty and where withal to effect necessary interventions, it cannot manage the virus unilaterally.
Mkhize called on all South Africans to adhere to recommendations pertaining to non-pharmaceutical interventions.
"Our ability to break the cycle of infection depends on our willingness to remain focused and disciplined and take non-pharmaceutical interventions seriously," he said.
Dr. Mkhize expressed concerns that fatigue seems to have set in with South Africans letting down their guard despite the surging number of infections.
"We see poor or no social distancing in communities. Masks are being abandoned or not worn properly and there is laxity setting in around frequent hand-washing," he said.
"This will directly influence the rise in numbers in the next two weeks. We must all appreciate that there is a direct causal link between the surge of cases and our ability, or inability."
Mkhize said in a time like now when there is no vaccine or cure for coronavirus, the ability to break the cycle of infection depends on people's willingness to remain focused and disciplined, as well as taking non-pharmaceutical interventions seriously.
Mkhize's remarks came a day after the country lost a member of parliament, Martha Mmola, to the pandemic.
Mmola served as a permanent delegate to the National Council of Provinces for the African National Congress, representing the Mpumalanga province.
The virus also claimed the life of Zindzi Mandela, South Africa's ambassador to Denmark and the daughter of the late Nelson Mandela, on Sunday. She died at a Johannesburg hospital at the age of 59.
South Africa, which started reopening its economy on June 1, announced various revised level three lockdown regulations on July 12.
The regulations included a ban on alcohol sales, dispensing or distribution; a curfew between 9 pm-4am and prohibition of family and social visits.
Inter-provincial travel and the use of accommodation for leisure was also banned and taxis taking long trips were instructed to adhere to 70 percent occupancy.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union and National Teachers Union has been calling for closing schools that started reopening on June 1, citing the increasing coronavirus infections in the country. The unions said schools should reopen after the peak of the viral infection.