On Wednesday, 1 April, Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, launched 60 new mobile laboratories to boost the country’s capacity to test for COVID-19.
The sampling and testing units, procured by the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), will be deployed nationwide to all priority districts and metros. 10,000 community health care workers will be deployed across the country for door-to-door household screening.
Each province has been requested to start working on this strategy by deploying provincial community healthcare workers, with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment, to undertake a house-to-house programme of “no-touch” screening for Covid-19 symptoms and to refer symptomatic people to clinics for testing.
addition, PEPFAR-funded District Support Partners have been instructed to support provinces in this programme.
South Africa currently has the capacity to conduct 5,000 tests for COVID-19 daily. However, with the addition of mobile testing units, combined with 180 testing sites and 320 testing units across the country, this number will now increase six-fold.