SA turns to China to strengthen forces as Cuban doctors arrive to help fight Covid-19

By Loni Prinsloo and Paul Vecchiatto

(Bloomberg) – South Africa asked China for additional doctors to assist the country in its fight against the coronavirus, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.

“It should not be difficult to also get additional foreign-trained doctors through for jobs and volunteer openings, if they are registered in South Africa,” Mkhize said on a video conference with the country’s parliamentary health committees on Monday.

Early on Monday morning, 217 Cuban health workers arrived in South Africa, the Cuban embassy said on Twitter. Africa’s most industrialised country sent some medical supplies back to Cuba in the plane that the doctors traveled in, it said. South Africa has reported 4,546 virus infections and 87 deaths to date.

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South Africa has almost one doctor for every 1,000 people, below the global average, according to World Bank data. It will lean on China, which has extensive experience in dealing with the pandemic, and would like to implement portions of the community health model that Cuba practices.

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