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A look inside a South African ward as deaths pass 50,000 mark

South Africa COVID ward hospital bed   -  
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South Africa

Nurses work on the Covid-19 ward in a hospital in South African township Thembisa northeast of Johannesburg. Coronavirus infections here have been dropping, but Africa's hardest-hit country has passed 50,000 recorded deaths.

Salome Mkoana is the Covid-19 ward manager at Thembisa Hospital. "Every day when I go home I pray," she says.

"I ask God 'Please God, can you please help me to go through this?' That is why I am like this now, but I am exhausted. I need to leave. Now I am exhausted, but anyway, by the grace of the Lord that is why I am here right now." Mkoana says. 

On Monday South Africa's Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize raised concern over a third wave of Covid-19 infections after Easter. The likelihood comes as the country continues to roll out its vaccination strategy.

“We are all concerned about the possibility of a third wave, or resurgence after Easter (April),” Mkhize said in a Wits panel discussion on Covid-19 vaccine.

"You know our fear is we are just imagining how worse it's going to be, how bad is it going to be? It is going to be the same as the first or second wave or is it going to be worse? But the good thing is we understand it more. So, we will be much wiser when we approach the third wave. So, we can't say we are not ready for it, we are ready," said Phuti Kobo, Covid-19 ward manager at Thembisa Hospital

South Africa is expected to have access to at least 1.1 million vaccines, which will come from Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson.

Additional vaccines are expected in May and June, with exact numbers still being assessed according to Mkhize.

The acceleration of vaccines is expected from April, May and June. 

“At that point we are actually negotiating much higher numbers of vaccines,” the health minister said.

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