South Africa limits most coronavirus testing for people under 55

Nii Ntreh June 05, 2020
South is also referred to as the Rainbow Nation. Photo Credit: Twitter/FIFA

Testing for coronavirus in South Africa will now be largely focused on citizens under 55 amid crises of a shortage of testing kits as well as a backlog of more than 100,000 tests.

Various reports from the country indicate that the strategy will be used in the Western Cape Province, the hotspot of South Africa’s share of concerns on the novel coronavirus with more than half of the country’s 40,000-plus cases.

But the initiative would also only be available for people with serious health conditions. Speaking to local radio, the province’s head of health Keith Cloete, pleaded for heathy people under 55 to isolate if they show symptoms of COVID-19.

“If you were younger than 55 and you had symptoms, assumed [sic] you have COVID-19. You didn’t need to worry, because you’ll be fine after 14 days. There’s no purpose in getting a test,” Cloete added.

The country appears to be rationing tests and targeting a section of the population in the active labor force even as it has maintained its spot as the African country with the most coronavirus cases.

But South Africa is also the country to have carried out the most coronavirus tests in Africa. Last month after easing restrictions, the government announced a “fatalities management plan”, saying it expects some 4,000 people could die each month of the virus.

Meanwhile, opposition lawmaker and firebrand Julius Malema criticized the decision of the South African government to reopen religious institutions, warning it will lead to unimaginable catastrophe. 

“I plead with religious leaders not to open their places. You are the ones who should be saying your members should not come to church. Do not go to church, you are going to die.”

Malema, president of the left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters(EFF), called the reopening “a trap”, adding, “Our people can still pray at home”.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: June 5, 2020


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