Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday that 511 health workers have tested positive for Covid-19 and two have died.

Twenty-six have been hospitalised and two — a doctor and a nurse — have died‚ he said in a series of tweets.

He also suggested that a prolonged lockdown would not necessarily delay the peak of infections substantially‚ adding that the virus could be with us for another two years.

“Our health workers are like soldiers who go to war. They must be well-trained‚ well-armed and well-protected. We want them to be confident that they are well trained‚ that they understand how they don’t get infected‚ and how they protect others‚” he tweeted.

“At the end of the day‚ everything is about people. It is only when our people are healthy‚ that we will have a thriving economy.”

He said improving the economy started with good health — “nutrition‚ hygiene and sanitation are at the core of our people being healthy”.

“There is no contradiction here. Life is complex. In terms of our scientific focus‚ we were able to push the peak. If we were to prolong the lockdown‚ it would not have delayed the peak substantially.”

SA‚ he added‚ has learnt lessons from other countries and can now spot where there were problems in dealing with the pandemic. “We must be able to maintain a balance. It is a battle we face every day. Covid-19 may be here for another two years.”