Johannesburg – Acting Health Minister Mmaboloko Kubayi-Ngubane said that the country had lost more than 47,000 vaccine doses due to the looting in KwaZulu- Natal and Gauteng.
During the deadly riots last week, looters vandalised 120 pharmacies where vaccines were stored, although most of the public sector sites were not affected.
Kubayi-Ngubane said that the riots had had an impact not only on the vaccine programme but also on the entire health system.
She said that the disruptions had put many lives at risk.
The minister said that indications suggesting that South Africa had passed the peak of the third wave but her department was concerned that the recent riots in KwaZulu- Natal and Gauteng could lead to another surge in Covid-19 numbers.
“The indications are that we have passed the peak of the third wave and the overall number of cases have started to decline. However, we are cautious and extremely worried because of the many gatherings that we saw during the unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal may lead to another surge in numbers.”
The minister said that many of those arrested during the unrest had tested positive for the virus while in custody.