South Africa

Sadtu to hold 'special meeting' on surge in Covid-19 cases

Durban – The national executive committee of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) will on Tuesday hold a virtual meeting to devise a response to the surge in Covid-19 cases across the country, it said. 

The union said in a statement it could not "continue sending condolence messages to families of members" that had died because of the virus. 

The meeting is to take place despite Sadtu having not yet received a response from Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to its requests for an urgent meeting her with, it said. 

That meeting - when it takes place - will entail discussions on the "alarming increases in infections", said media officer Nomusa Cembi. She said Sadtu wrote to Motshekga on Thursday.   

South Africa is nearing the peak of its Covid-19 outbreak, which led President Cyril Ramaphosa to reinstate a ban on the sale of alcohol in a televised address, on Sunday night. The ban is intended to free up hospitals from having to deal with alcohol-related injuries, including drunk driving, and instead to focus on Covid-19 cases. 

According to the country's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the number of  Covid-19 infections thus far sits at 276 242. The recovery rate is 134 874, with 4 079 people having succumbed to the virus. 

"There are some among us who ignore the regulations that have been passed to combat the disease. They also act without any responsibility to respect and protect each other. 

"In the midst of our national effort to fight against this virus there are a number of people who have taken to organising parties, who have drinking sprees, and some who walk around in crowded spaces without masks," said the president in his live address. 

"This is how the virus is spread – through carelessness and through recklessness," he added. 

Even though South Africa was currently experiencing a surge in positive cases, he said, the fatality rate was only 1.5%, one of the lowest in the world. 

“We have conducted more than two million coronavirus tests, and community health workers have done more than 20 million screenings.

"We have made available almost 28 000 hospital beds for Covid-19 patients and have constructed functional field hospitals across the country,” said Ramaphosa.

“We now have over 37 000 quarantine beds in private and public facilities across the country, ready to isolate those who cannot do so at home. 

"We have secured 1 700 additional ventilators and companies in South Africa are in the process of producing another 12 000 ventilation devices for delivery between the end of July and the end of August,” he added. 

African News Agency (ANA)

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