Tue, 22 Sep 2020

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane announced that, in just nine days, Covid-19 claimed 466 lives.He said the upsurge in the fatalities was caused by underlying diseases and old age.The total number of Covid-19 fatalities in the province stands at 2 226.

In what is probably the most devastating blow for the Eastern Cape in their fight against the pandemic, 466 people died of Covid-19 in just nine days.

The announcement was made by Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane during a weekly Covid-19 press briefing in Bhisho on Tuesday.

It brought the total number of Covid-19 fatalities in the province to 2 226.

The upsurge in the fatalities was caused by underlying diseases and old age, said Mabuyane.

The comorbidities that made the 466 vulnerable to Covid-19 include diabetes, hypertension, HIV, asthma, cardiac diseases, cancer and obesity, said Mabuyane.

"We enter this week with heavy hearts as we have lost 466 people in our province to Covid-19 in a space of nine days. This is a painful reality and experience to these families and to those of us who knew each of those we have lost to this virus.

"Once again, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families of the deceased and we wish them strength in this difficult period."

Among the dead were 85 healthcare workers who were on the frontlines, said Mabuyane.

"The relentless coronavirus struck again at the heart of our healthcare fraternity, this time claiming the life of Professor Lungile Pepeta, who had served in the public health sector diligently for 21 years after receiving his medical degree from Walter Sisulu University."

Pepeta, the Nelson Mandela University's health sciences executive dean and chairperson of the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), died of Covid-19 on Friday.

He had been on a ventilator at the Life St George's Hospital.

"What pains me the most about his sudden passing is that I was in constant communication with him. He was in good spirits and he was assuring me that he will defeat the virus and get back to the frontlines," said Mabuyane.

He continued:

Even when I was asking him to take it easy and focus on his recovery, Professor Pepeta wanted to know about two developments in the work we are doing to fight the pandemic and offered advice from the hospital bed he was lying in - because his purpose in life was to save the lives of others.

Mabuyane said the virus had set them back from using the best minds in the province to accelerate socio-economic development.

"I say this because the passing of Professor Pepeta follows that of Dr Monde Mnyande, who was a board member at Coega and one of the commissioners in our provincial planning commission, and the passing of Rev. Dr Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni, after whom we named the VWSA Field Hospital."

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