It is day seven of the national lockdown, with most South Africans adhering to the presidency’s call to remain at home and limit travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. This makes testing for many difficult, however, and in some cases a risk too. It’s why the Department of Health (DoH) recently unveiled new mobile COVID-19 testing units.

The DoH has 67 mobile testing units available, all of which will be sent to major cities and densely populated areas across the country. Health minister, Zweli Mkhize, has also explained that the testing units will be sent to areas identified as COVID-19 hotspots first.

The minister added that rapid test kits are also being procured, and he noted that they need to deployed as quickly as possible so the DoH has a better picture of the COVID-19 infection level of the country.

“Our testing criteria is reactive and restrictive. This means we don’t have a true picture. Although we are talking about 45 000 tests, this is too low, given the size of the population,” Mhkize pointed out.

“We need to engage all community leaders. Spread the message of stay at home and the importance of hygiene must be made more emphatically,” the Minister added.

At the time of writing, the number of positive cases sits at 1 380, with five fatalities. In the past couple of weeks, the number of infections has risen sharply in South Africa, but there is hope that the current lockdown will indeed flatten the curve.

That said, with flu season around the corner, there is a concern that hospitals will be overwhelmed with people requiring assistance and treatment. It is the president has called again for South Africans to respect and adhere to the restrictions that have been outlined.

“Look at China and South Korea, and the US. It is the conduct of the community that matters. Take this seriously. Don’t panic. Go out for essentials only,” he noted earlier this week.

[Image – SAnews]