Coronavirus claims another life in South Africa as cases climb to 1,686

The number of positive Covid-19 cases in South Africa has climbed to 1,686, an increase of 31 from before.

The Department of Health reported that another person had succumbed to the virus, taking the total number of deaths to 12.

“Today we are saddened to report another COVID-19 related death. The deceased patient is a 57 year old male from the Western Cape, who was admitted on the 5th April 2020,” it said.

Gauteng still has the highest number of cases with 713, with the Western Cape at 462, and KwaZulu-Natal, 257. 

The total number of Covid-19 tests conducted to date is 58,098, the department said.

Global pandemic

Globally, deaths from the virus has passed 71,000, with nearly 1.3 million coronavirus cases and 272,794 recoveries to date.

The US remains the hardest hit nation with 339,131 infections and 9,689 deaths.

Spain and Italy have also taken the brunt of deaths from the infection, with 13,169 and 15,887 respectively. Spain has just over 135,000 infections, while Italy has nearly 129,000 affected people.

Bloomberg however, reported that further signs that the crisis may be easing in Europe emerged on Monday. Germany and Spain reported lower numbers of new cases, and the Netherlands had the smallest increase in deaths in a week.

UK deaths slowed for a second day, even as they passed the grim milestone of 5,000. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized as a precaution after 10 days in isolation failed to improve his condition, Bloomberg noted.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief executive officer Jamie Dimon said he expects a major economic downturn and stress similar to the crisis that almost brought down the US financial system in 2008.

Economic woes

The Reserve Bank warned on Monday that South Africa’s economy could contract by 2% to 4% this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and measures to curb its spread.

It said in a Monetary Policy Review that a 21-day nationwide lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of the pandemic will reduce the rate of change in gross domestic product for this year by 2.6 percentage points.

Bloomberg reported that the country’s economy is stuck in its longest downward cycle since World War II, with rolling blackouts and poor business and consumer sentiment weighing on growth.

Uncertainty and downward shocks to economic prospects posed by the coronavirus mark “an inauspicious start to a new decade after the serial disappointments of the 2010s,” the central bank said.

The coronavirus crisis could push the budget deficit to wartime levels by sapping revenue and potentially increasing spending requirements if the lockdown doesn’t effectively contain the rate of infections, the central bank said. The shortfall could exceed 10% of GDP this fiscal year, it said.

The largest shortfall on record was 11.6% of GDP in 1914, followed by 10.4% in 1940, according to the central bank. The Treasury projected a gap of 6.8% for 2020-21, Bloomberg said.

While the outbreak will test whether inflation expectations are resistant to shocks, inflation is expected to remain “well contained” within the bank’s 3% to 6% target range until 2022 and weak demand will exert downward pressure on prices, the central bank said.


Read: Triple-blow to South Africa’s economy

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Coronavirus claims another life in South Africa as cases climb to 1,686