The World Health Organisation has reportedly sent 43 experts to South Africa to help the country in its COVID-19 response.
According to a statement by the organisation, the experts were from various fields and would assist the country to contain the spread of the contagion.
The news came as a result of talks between the country’s health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize and WHO leadership.
Part of the team arrived in South Africa on Wednesday. The 17 will complete a period of quarantine and initiation before they take to the field across the country.
WHO representative in South Africa, Dr Owen Kaluwa confirmed the news. Dr Kaluwa told journalists that the country needed a collective effort to contain the epidemic.
“At this time when the COVID-19 epidemic in South Africa is spreading rapidly, it is important that we work together to intensify our fight against the virus. For this reason, WHO is ramping up support to complement national and provincial efforts to scale up the response.” He said.
Experts leading the teams
Among the specialist includes Dr Mike Ryan, WHO Executive Director for Health Emergency Programme and Dr David Heymann. Dr Heymann is a seasoned infectious disease epidemiologist and a public health expert.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, will also be part of the team. She will lead the surge team virtually from Brazzaville, Congo Dem. Rep.
Dr Mike Ryan, also on the surge team, will also work remotely from Geneva, Switzerland.
Over half a million cases
South Africa has risen to among the five hardest-hit countries in the world, reporting over 525,000 cases. That is more than half of the total cases in Africa, which is inching closer to 1 million
However, the country has a very high recovery rate, clocking in at 71%. The case fatality rate is also rather low, at about 1.8%.
However, the country has seen a surge of new cases. These new infections keep the figures rising further without a dent even as recoveries accelerate.