The deployment comes as the country enters the third wave of the epidemic, and the number of new cases per day has doubled in the past two weeks.
The South African government said on Friday that South Africa is deploying military medical personnel to its commercial centers and most populous provinces to help health workers respond to the surge in coronavirus.
South Africa is the worst-hit country on the African continent and has entered the third wave of COVID. The number of new cases per day has doubled in the past two weeks.
Gauteng-home to the administrative capital of Pretoria and the financial center of Johannesburg-is the current epicenter of the outbreak, accounting for approximately 60% of the latest daily increase.
Acting Minister of Health Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said at a virtual press conference on Friday: “We have requested more capabilities in military assistance to assist Gauteng.”
She said the deployment will “start today.”
The military will provide support for health workers and help with community testing and contact tracing.
The number of daily infections on Wednesday increased by 13,246, the highest level in five months. The number of hospitalizations has increased by nearly 60% in the past two weeks.
To date, the country has recorded more than 1.7 million cases, including at least 58,323 deaths.
Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa slightly tightened restrictions to curb the spread of infection and ease pressure on hospitals.
As South Africa strives to launch its vaccination program, the third wave of infections has arrived.
Since February, only about 2 million single injections have been injected. The government’s announced goal is to fully vaccinate at least 40 million people by the end of 2022.
So far, vaccination is only open to health workers and people over 60, although teaching, police and military personnel will receive their first vaccination this month.
At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in South Africa last year, more than 70,000 troops were deployed to help enforce strict lockdown measures.
The soldiers returned to the barracks in October.