South Africa Ramps Up Coronavirus Screening As Cases Rise

A queue of cars are seen at the Maseru Bridge border post between Lesotho and South Africa on March 24, 2020.  Molise Molise / AFP.


South Africa is ramping up its coronavirus screening and testing programmes, officials said on Monday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 2,272.

The country with the most recorded cases on the continent launched a public mobile mass screening and quarantine campaign just under two weeks ago.

It has trebled the number of field workers despatched to homes in villages, towns and cities across the country – from 10,000 to around more than 28,000, an official report showed.

More than 400,000 have been screened since the teams of field workers were deployed.

In all 83,663 people have been tested since the virus was first detected on March 5.

An additional 99 people tested positive Monday, taking the total to 2,272, the minister said, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.

The number of deaths remains relatively low with 27 fatalities recorded so far.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: IMF Approves Debt Relief For 25 Poor Countries

The country will also launch surveillance schemes targeting schools, mines, prisons and big companies, said Salim Abdool Karim, a government infectious disease scientist.

Although South Africa has seen a steady rise in the number of confirmed cases, it remains under the global curve for infections and deaths.

Karim said even with more tests being conducted the numbers of infections have plateaued, especially since the lockdown imposed on March 27.

“What we have managed to do is to tame community transmission,” Karim said during a TV debate.

However, he warned that the country was likely to see an “exponential spread” of the disease.

“We cannot escape this epidemic,” he said.

He attributed the slow down in numbers to the lockdown and the mass screening and testing people before they call in sick at hospitals.

“We have chosen to be proactive, to go out there and do active case finding,” he said.

“We are going to the community, we are going to find them before they go into the hospital and only South Africa has done that.”


Anthonia Orji

Disqus Comments Loading...

Recent Posts

  • Coronavirus
  • Local

Lagos Free Healthcare Records 600 Childbirths Amid COVID-19 Lockdown

  The free healthcare programme set up by the Lagos State government as medical palliative measures to cushion effect of…

53 mins ago
  • Local

COVID-19: Kaduna Discharges One Patient From Isolation Centre

  Kaduna State has discharged one COVID-19 patient from the Infectious Disease Centre in the state. The state Commissioner for…

1 hour ago
  • Coronavirus
  • World News

99-Year-Old World War II Veteran Beats COVID-19 In Brazil

  A 99-year-old World War II veteran in Brazil was released from hospital with military honors Tuesday after recovering from…

2 hours ago
  • Coronavirus

Coronavirus Recovery: FCT Discharges 9 COVID-19 Patients

  The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has discharged nine people who previously tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Mr Mohammad…

2 hours ago
  • World News

COVID-19: US Halting Of WHO Funding Is ‘Dangerous,’ Says Bill Gates

  American business tycoon, Bill Gates, has described President Donald Trump’s halting of funding to the World Health Organization (WHO)…

2 hours ago
  • Local

COVID-19 Lockdown: April Salary Will Come On-Time, Says Akwa-Ibom Govt

  Akwa-Ibom State Government has assured civil servants of its readiness to pay the April salary following the COVID-19 lockdown…

2 hours ago