EDITORIAL | The real Covid-19 setback is our government

Ideas

EDITORIAL | The real Covid-19 setback is our government

Anyone else would have read reports about the crisis in India two months ago and foreseen disaster coming our way

Editorial

It’s not only the public health sector’s responsibility to prepare for a third wave of Covid-19 infections – the private sector is equally responsible, as are citizens who should take individual responsibility for risky behaviour. This is according to Mary Kawonga, the chairperson of the Gauteng premier’s advisory committee on Covid-19, who spoke at a briefing on Thursday afternoon. She is not wrong, but her statement comes across as a deflection, especially if it is read against what two health experts told eNCA earlier this week.

Prof Rudo Mathivha, director of critical care medicine at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, and Prof Kholeka Mlisana, co-chair of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19, took no prisoners when they laid out how the government was repeatedly warned about an impending third wave. “There was just a relaxed attitude on our provincial health department’s part in not planning,” said Mathivha, an observation that would make even the most reasonable person see red.

The provincial government was advised to get field hospitals ready, yet Johannesburg’s big backup plan – the Nasrec field hospital – was shut down. The provincial government was warned that delays in reopening Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital after a fire could cost lives...

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