The Cuban medical brigade, made up of professionals from different specialties and with a total of about 211 members, arrived in South Africa this Sunday night to help combat the transmission of COVID-19. At the airport they were received by the country’s authorities and personnel from the Cuban embassy.
South Africa, which has reported the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in Africa, requested assistance from the island’s government. Havana has already sent more than a thousand doctors to 22 countries, including Togo, Cape Verde and Angola in Africa.
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Cuban doctors have been “on the front line of fighting other outbreaks in the world, such as cholera in Haiti in 2010 and Ebola in West Africa in 2013,” said South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
The Cuban medical personnel will remain in quarantine for two weeks before starting work. They have arrived at a time when South Africa is increasing community medical tests, especially in poor and crowded neighborhoods.
In Gauteng province―the country’s economic center that includes South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg, and the capital, Pretoria―mass exams and tests will be made throughout the week.
The examination and testing will also focus on the province of Western Cape, which includes Cape Town and which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases.
South Africa has made almost 170,000 tests. The country has 28,000 experienced community health workers who track contacts of people who test positive to help contain the spread of the disease.