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Just the Hits with Abongile Nzelenzele
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Health Dep DG: Smoking is affecting smokers, it's not affecting anybody else

25 May 2020 7:24 AM

National Health Director-General Dr Anban Pillay explains Lockdown level 3 which will be implemented from 1 June.

National Health Director-General Dr Anban Pillay talks to Refilwe Moloto about the country moving to alert level 3 in the Covid-19 lockdown, an expected spike in infections as well as the criteria for how Cuban doctors are being deployed to Covid-19 hotspots.

Pillay says the 28-strong Cuban medical team including epidemiologists will be working within health facilities in the Western Cape to provide and enhance the provincial health department's service delivery as Covid-19 cases begin to increase.

He says the Western Cape Health Department has identified the Cape Town ICC as a field hospital and this will provide the additional bed space needed to respond to the higher hospitalisation requirements.

Others are obviously isolated and quarantined at home and if people remain at home and abide by the requirements we should be fine.

Dr Anban Pillay, Deputy Director General - Department of Health

He says the problem arises where people are unable to quarantine or isolate at home.

Then we would have to put them into facilities where they can maintain the quarantine and isolation requirements.

Dr Anban Pillay, Deputy Director General - Department of Health

Will this be enough bed space?

Pillay says the need for ICU care is very limited.

We are also talking to the private hospitals in the Western Cape currently so that we can expand and accommodate the overflow.

Dr Anban Pillay, Deputy Director General - Department of Health

He says the 3 key factors to keep tabs in determining a move to a different alert level are the following:

The rate of infection increases, how fast it is increasing, and whether the bed capacity withing the province is sufficient to cope.

Why have cigarettes been excluded but not alcohol?

The argument for why cigarettes have been excluded is obviously it causes harm as this is a respiratory illness.

Dr Anban Pillay, Deputy Director General - Department of Health

How would refraining from smoking for a few weeks help a 20-year-long smoker medically asks Refilwe?

People have written to us saying they have now quit smoking because they cannot access cigarettes and they are complying with the law. We cannot stop people from accessing cigarettes illegally. We've done as much as we can as government to protect them.

Dr Anban Pillay, Deputy Director General - Department of Health

Them smoking is actually affecting them, it is not affecting anybody else.

Dr Anban Pillay, Deputy Director General - Department of Health

But he adds smoking presents a health risk to those who do smoke.

Listen to the interview below:


25 May 2020 7:24 AM

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