Government has announced that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa has climbed to 1,462.
This is up from 1,380 cases reported on Wednesday (1 April 2020) – an increase of 82 cases from last reporting.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize said that even though this is a bigger increase than seen in recent days, the figures are still more muted than expected – something he attributes to lockdown mechanisms.
However, he said it is still early days, and more infections are expected, so government and all citizens must not falter or waver and keep following the regulations.
In terms of deaths, Mkhize said that five deaths are confirmed, with two still being investigated.
With recoveries, 45 people have recovered, he said.
Globally the count of coronavirus cases has reached 981,425, expected to hit over 1 million overnight. Deaths due to coronavirus complications have passed the 50,000 mark, now sitting at 50,255.
206,272 people have recovered from the disease, but 724,898 infections remain active, with 37,207 cases being in serious or critical condition.
The US, which has become the new coronavirus epicentre, is seeing new infections at an alarming rate, with 12,000 new infections since last reporting. The US now has 227,061 confirmed cases.
Meanwhile Italy, Spain and the UK continue seeing high levels of new deaths. Italy has seen over 13,900 people die from the virus, with Spain being the second country to pass the 10,000 mark.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize has warned that coronavirus infections will likely spike in the coming weeks as the country begins to enter the colder winter months.
Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday (1 April), Mkhize indicated that while he was pleased with the relatively low number of infections in the country, it could prove to be the calm before the storm.
“Next month the flu season starts, thus making more people sick with similar symptoms, and therefore no way of distinguishing common colds from an upsurge of Covid-19 infections.
“These will flood our clinics and hospitals and create fertile ground for coronavirus to spread.”
To assist in tracking and treating potential coronavirus threats, government has partnered with companies and hospitals to launch new initiatives.
The first is a fleet of 67 mobile testing vans which are equipped with necessary equipment to move to various areas in the country to ramp up screening and testing efforts – particularly in townships.
The other is a partnership with mobile operators to use geo-location tracking on mobile devices – dating back to early March – to see where virus carriers have potentially been in contact with others.
Government will also develop and maintain a national database to enable the tracing of persons who are known or reasonably suspected to have come into contact with any person known or reasonably suspected to have contracted Covid-19.
The Covid-19 Tracing Database shall include all information considered necessary for the contact tracing process to be effective, including but not limited to:
- First name;
- Last name;
- Identity number/Passport number;
- Residential address;
- Work address/Other addresses where they could be located;
- Cellphone number;
- Covid-19 test results;
- The personal details of all known or suspected contacts of anyone who has tested positive for the virus.