Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are 43 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the country – while confirming two new deaths.
This brings the new total for the country to 1,505 cases, and total deaths rising to nine people.
“We have been discussing since president Cyril Ramaphosa has announced it, that we are going to roll out the testing.
To date 47,965 tests have been conduced, with the health department hoping to ramp that figure up by 30,000 tests daily. The minister also previously announced 45 coronavirus recoveries in the country.
“We have identified areas of priority. We are ready to give additional support and reinforcement to the areas that need assistance,” the minister said.
The outbreak, Mkhize, said, is changing in pattern. For the first few cases, people came into the country having travelled elsewhere and picked up the virus. Increasingly, he said more cases of infection show no history of travel.
The minister said that this presents an underlying problem – with Covid-19 tracking into hospitals. “But the distribution of cases has also been well analysed…they have shown me geographic mapping, which I believe is very important to be able to see the distribution of where most of our patients are.”
He said the particular importance of the tracking is to understand the social dynamics of a patient, their travelling and living habits.
Globally, coronavirus cases has climbed to 1,041,119, with 55,203 reported deaths and 222,332 recoveries.
New cases in South Africa have climbed relatively slowly over the last week, however Mkhize stressed that cases are still increasing. He warned that the country is only on the cusp of the outbreak.
“Our current projections are still indicating that we need to get out and find those who could be infected in the community.
“What we may currently be experiencing is the calm before a heavy and devastating storm,” he said earlier this week.
“Unless we move fast we will soon be swarmed. There will therefore be no further warning before the pounding descends upon us.
“There will not be time to prepare what we will not have put in place in the next seven days,” Dr Mkhize said
Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku meanwhile, told eNCA on Friday that as many as 60% of Gauteng’s population could become infected.
“In terms of modelling it will be difficult to articulate a particular figure, but I would say that we are looking at 60% of the community will be infected. If you are looking at Gauteng this would be around 9 million out of 15 million people.”
Because of this, minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has noted that it is still far too early to tell whether the country-wide lockdown will be extended or not.
“We need a lot more data to map the various trends.”