The Minister said this when he tabled the Health Department’s budget vote speech during a virtual sitting of the National Assembly on Thursday.
“This is based on the average daily cases that we have been recording. We have publicly stated that the storm is upon us.
“This is evidenced by the surge in different provinces, namely, the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng. KwaZulu-Natal appears to be following the same trend and we are now watching the province closely,” the Minister said.
Based on the average daily cases that the department has been recording, Mkhize said he expects that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases will have reached the 400 000 mark by the end of the week.
As at 22 July, the number of confirmed positive cases stood at 394 948, with 5 940 deaths reported.
“As the globe, we have now tipped the 15 million mark of COVID-19 confirmed cases. As a country, we also know that by the end of this week, we would have reached the 400 000 mark of cumulative confirmed cases,” Mkhize said.
The reopening of the economy, which led to the increased movement of people in the country, has with no doubt contributed to the rise in numbers, the Minister said.
“However, we are mindful that government had to grapple with protecting our citizen’s lives and their livelihood.
“It has not at all proven to be an easy exercise, with various sectors having their own expectations informed by the challenges they face.
“But we want to assure every South African that as inconvenient and uncomfortable things may be, our intention is to do what is in the best interest of our people.”
R5.5 billion set aside to fight COVID-19
The Minister said government is mindful of the fact that while the focus has shifted to fighting COVID-19, it still has a responsibility to ensure the gains made with the HIV, TB and other programmes are sustained, regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“… The new baseline budget for 2020/201, based on adjustments, is at R58.4 billion, with a total allocation of R5.5 billion earmarked for COVID-19.
“The reprioritisation of focal areas includes our most urgent and pressing needs in the midst of a surge in COVID-19 cases,” Mkhize said.