The figure is cold in the back. At a time when the pandemic coronavirus progresses rapidly, the authorities of the most populous province in South Africa have shocked the country by suggesting that they were ready to bury… more than a million victims.
Praised for his rigour and his frankness, the minister of Health Zweli Mkhize has not failed to its reputation on Wednesday before the Parliament. “The storm that we have not ceased to announce is happening “, he launched to the mps.
For a long time contained by the strict containment measures imposed at the end of march to 57 million compatriots, the numbers of contaminations and dead from the COVID-19 is abruptly blown away.
More 10 134 cases and 192 deaths Tuesday, over 8800 cases and 100 dead again Wednesday… With 220 000 infections and 3,600 deaths to date, South Africa remains, more than ever, the most affected country of the continent.
The “peak” of dreaded of health crisis seems to be approaching, and with it grows the concern of the authorities.
“We’re at a point where they are our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, our sisters, our close friends and comrades who are infected,” pointed out the minister.
Despite the confinement, the hospital system of the most industrialized country in sub-saharan Africa is in the process of transfer. Despite the field hospitals deployed by the army or the NGOS, “our bed capacity will be exceeded in all the provinces,” said Mr Mkhize.
Especially Gauteng, which houses the country’s largest city of Johannesburg – at least 7 million inhabitants, according to the most recent estimates – and the capital Pretoria, which has delighted this week as the main focus of the epidemic in the Cape region (south).
– “Sensitive subject” -In all the cemeteries of the province, the diggers swung into action to dig long rows of graves ready to accommodate any burials in mass.
The “minister” of Health of Gauteng, Bandile Masuku, found it expedient Wednesday to announce that more than a million locations were available.
“All of our municipalities increase their capacity and acquire land which they might need to bury them “, he assured. “This is a sensitive subject, and I would like to say that there are still good chances to avoid the worst of the peak “.
Too late, the damage was done. His numbers have been repeated continuously on the news channels and social networks, fostering a feeling of anxiety.
“The government’s response to the COVID-19 is intended to prevent infections and SAVE lives “, has tried to reassure on Twitter the minister in charge of the management of the crisis, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. “We don’T prepare to a million dead in the country “.
“The number of dead is about 550 000 in the world, there is no scenario for as many deaths in Gauteng,” pointed out a local head of the opposition, Dr. Jack Bloom.
“The comments by Mr Masuku are creating unnecessary panic and need to be removed “, he demanded.
Embarrassed to entournures, the health services in Gauteng are split Thursday, a precision. “The province has not dug more than a million of tombs,” they corrected, ” this number refers only to its capacity “.