Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has on Wednesday morning announced that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country has risen to 709.
The number of cases has increased by 155 since Tuesday when numbers stood at 554.
RELATED: COVID-19 cases in SA now at 709
The minister joins Clement Manyathela on the Midday Report to chat about what people need to know about the noval coronavirus.
We must just be concerned that we have the virus in the country, but the concerned must not cause us to panic. The concern means we must be determined get rid of it, that means we must all do as asked.— Zweli Mkhize, Minister - Health
There are ways of reducing the impact of the infection and there are ways of reducing the spread of the virus, he adds.
Mkhize says even though he is concerned about the sharp increase in the infections, the steps that the government has taken are aimed at reducing the number of people that are infected and ultimately defeat COVID-19.
About 75% of infections are accounted for by people who have either travelled out of South Africa or those who are returning South Africans and those who are visiting the country. We knew that it was going to be the starting phase of the infection, later we are going to start having contacts with those people spreading within our communities.— Zweli Mkhize, Minister - Health
South Africa is at that phase and that is why President Cyril Ramaphosa and Cabinet took a serious decision to take drastic action to reduce the internal transmission.
Everyone needs to take responsibility for ensuring that this virus doesn't continue to spread. We are at a place where all the resources are being counted, whether from the public sector and the private sector as what we have to fight the virus.— Zweli Mkhize, Minister - Health
The minister says government is working very closely with the private sector to ensure that all the information gathered from private laborites goes to the national health laboratory centre.
Hospital beds, we are accounting for everyone, if you are admitted at a public hospital or private hospital, it is the same, you are admitted. When you get to ICU, we will do our own internal arrangement between government and the private sector.— Zweli Mkhize, Minister - Health
Testing is done on the basis of clinical criteria, the doctor will take that criteria into account and then refer the person into testing.
We expect that all those who have gone for testing should fit the criteria. The criteria is that someone must either have travelled to a high-risk country or has been in contact with a person that has travelled. They must also have symptoms.— Zweli Mkhize, Minister - Health
The projections of how long the country will battle the virus are fairly wide, he says.
The lockdown is about stopping the spread of this infection, we expect everyone to just stay at home. We discourage people from travelling. We believe that what is important is to cut the movement of people in a way that you decrease the chances of catching the virus.— Zweli Mkhize, Minister - Health
Even though he prefers that people must stay at home during the lockdown, if people were to go out and jog, it has to be for a shot distance and it mustn't be with a crowd, he says.
People can't go and have a party, you can't sit as a group and start boozing together, then smoking together and then you are coughing together. Even in-house you have to observe certain basic hygiene and social distance. You can stop the virus by observing what government said needs to be observed.— Zweli Mkhize, Minister - Health
He says if a person finds a church operating, that person has the right to notify the police.
To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.
Listen below to the full conversation with the minister: