The World Health Organization (WHO) has deployed 43 global senior experts to South Africa to assist the country with its Covid-19 response, Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize announced on Wednesday.
Seventeen experts will touch down in South Africa on Wednesday and will complete a period of quarantine and initiation before being deployed within the Department of Health (DoH) and across various provinces.
South Africa’s Covid-19 infections are now at 521 318.
Mkhize said bringing in the health experts would improve South Africa’s health strategies during the pandemic and accelerate the country’s path towards health care reform.
“Today we announce that the WHO will be sending 43 senior experts from across the globe including renowned specialists such as Dr David Heymann, who is a seasoned infectious disease epidemiologist and public health expert. I want to pause and acknowledge the WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for his continuous support and counsel. We know that he and his team have had to carry the global burden in the battle against Covid-19,” he said.
WHO Health Emergencies Programme executive director Dr Mike Ryan will lead the team from Geneva and will provide South Africa with constant advice while analysing the country’s strategies, including the DoH’s Covid-19 response.
Mkhize reiterated the importance of good hygiene practices to “flatten the curve”.
“The real risk of experiencing the second wave of the pandemic remains, so containment measures must never be abandoned. Until we are completely safe, we will keep reviewing restrictions and, if necessary certain restrictions will still remain in place,” he warned.