CORONAVIRUS DAILY DIGEST #119

Gauteng vows to fix lockdown medicine shortages, Presidency explains new ministerial team’s mission and Eastern Cape promises a lockdown spending report

By Christi Nortier 10 August 2020

Compilation image by Sahra Heuwel.

Over the weekend, South Africa confirmed more than 10,000 deaths related to Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Gauteng has promised to address the medicine shortages its public health facilities have faced during lockdown. Meanwhile, the Presidency has briefly explained the job description of the new ministerial committee. The Eastern Cape has committed to publishing an investigation into its Covid-19 spending by the end of August.

Scroll through the gallery below to view the latest Covid-19 numbers available on 10 August at the district level. All maps are sourced from provincial health departments. Eastern Cape did not provide an update by the time of publishing:

On Saturday, South Africa recorded more than 10,000 Covid-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Western Cape, Gauteng, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State have recorded the most deaths. That same day, South Africa had confirmed 553,188 Covid-19 cases. Over 400,500 people had recovered from Covid-19 – bringing the recovery rate to 73%.

On Sunday, the Gauteng Department of Health said it will be intervening to address shortages of medicines in public health facilities in the province. It says it will be ordering more supplies, will penalise suppliers for late deliveries and will work to unblock supply chains.

It has acknowledged that medicines for tuberculosis, asthma, epilepsy, muscle weakness, seizures and a number of mental illnesses were in short supply between March and August. In addition, three types of contraceptives were unavailable. It provided reasons for each of the shortages as well as effects on patients:

A table showing the medicines in short supply at Gauteng’s public health facilities between March and August 2020. The department released a statement on 9 August outlining how it will address these shortages. (Table: Gauteng Department of Health).

Meanwhile, the Presidency issued a statement clarifying the role of the ministerial team set up by Cabinet last week. It says the committee will compile and publish details of all Covid-19-related contracts awarded by the government, but is not responsible for investigating any irregularities. It says this is the job of law enforcement agencies. It says the team will exist “for the period required to complete this work”.

On Monday, the Eastern Cape Provincial Treasury announced it would publish “details relating to Covid-19 procurement in the province”. The report can be found here. This comes as the provincial treasury is apparently in the midst of investigating all of these contracts for irregularities. The provincial treasury promised to release the report by the end of August. In addition, the national auditor-general and Special Investigating Unit is also looking at the province’s books. DM/MC

Gallery

"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

MAVERICK CITIZEN OP-ED

Vaccine roll-out: Age is the most important factor to prioritise in the queue

By David Harrison