Bhisho, South Africa, July 21, 2020 -- The Eastern Cape is planning to establish a toll-free call centre where people scarred by Covid-19 can speak to psychologists.
This was announced by Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane at the province's capital Bhisho on Tuesday.
Mabuyane was speaking alongside the members of his provincial cabinet, during his weekly media briefing about the province's fight against the virus.
Mabuyane said: "The psychological scars of the Covid-19 virus will be with us long after it has gone. People have lost loved ones abruptly to this virus.
"They did not even have the opportunity to give them fitting farewells. We are pooling together psychological resources in government to set up a province-wide telephonic support system that will be accessible through a toll-free number for survivors and affected people."
He also revealed that the number of health workers infected by the virus was increasing. Mabuyane said 2 462 health workers had tested positive for the virus, while 35 have died.
"We lower our banners in mourning the 35 healthcare workers we have lost. Their demise is not in vain. When we defeat this virus, Dr Buyile Tom and Dr Nobuntu Songca's names will be amongst the names of fallen healthcare workers which will be etched in a wall of remembrance to remind generations to come about these patriotic, dedicated men and women who raised their hands and said 'send me' when our nation faced the invisible enemy of Covid-19.
"We are making an undertaking to continue prioritising healthcare workers in the provision of PPE, including the PPE we receive from our partners in the private sector. All of it will be deployed in our health facilities first to protect our health workers and patients from this virus."
A total of 871 people have died from Covid-19 in the Eastern Cape while 65 316 have tested positive as per statistics released on Monday.
"We want the families of the deceased to know that we note and appreciate the sacrifice they are making in complying with Covid-19 regulations when they bury their loved ones with less mourners, shorter tributes and sermons. This is the new normal and these sacrifices are preventing the spread of the virus," said Mabuyane.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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