Conducting an oversight visit in Mpumalanga on Friday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he is pleased with the plans the province has put in place to deal with Covid-19, especially as infections are expected to rise.
As of 2 July, Mpumalanga had 1 478 confirmed cases of Covid-19, one of the least-affected provinces. The total number of cases in the country jumped to 168 061 on Thursday.
According to the national Department of Health, Mpumalanga has recorded seven deaths and 520 recoveries.
Following a briefing with Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane, Ramaphosa said he was pleased with the progress that the province made in dealing with the Covid-19 crisis.
"Your province is still much better placed than other provinces, such as the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng," Ramaphosa said.
Infections expected to increase
However, the president added that the country was still in the midst of the infection pandemic and an increase could be experienced in Mpumalanga.
"Lockdown was a heavy duty weapon that we used but it served its purpose in as far as slowing down the rate of infection. But we always knew and we had been advised that we will see rising infections that we are seeing now in parts of the country.
"As much as your infections are still at a low, we are going to see them rising, but what I am pleased about is that you are getting ready, you are ready and getting readier and readier by the day.
"Listening to your report and the strategies that you are putting in place to deal with Covid-19, one takes a lot of comfort in knowing that you are focusing on the key issues."
The president said that around 4.5-million people have been screened in the country.
Province's economic focus
Ramaphosa added that the province was dealing with the economic fallout of the pandemic.
"Your focus on the economy of the province is quite impressive and admirable. You are already looking at the impact that Covid-19 is having on the economy of the province."
Ramaphosa said the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the economy, and that it is only going to get worse.
"We can already see the slide. We are already in a recession. In the next three months, when they count where we are, they will find that we are in a much deeper recession. Many of our people are going to lose jobs, it's going to be great hardship that lies ahead," Ramaphosa said.