President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that there are now 1,934 coronavirus cases in South Africa.
The number of deaths remains at 18.
The president also announced that the country will be extending its lockdown period for a further two weeks until 30 April. However, he indicated that certain sectors of the economy will be allowed to return to work in stages.
South Africa’s extended lockdown comes after global cases topped 1.5 million, while deaths passed 89,900, with 340,457 recoveries.
Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the final death toll from the virus may be lower than earlier estimated.
As fatalities now slow in parts of Europe, they are still accelerating in the US, which is on track to overtake Italy in the coming days, Bloomberg reported.
“I believe we are going to see a downturn” and projections look “more like the 60,000 than the 100,000 to 200,000,” Fauci said in response to an NBC interview question about virus fatality models.
Fauci said he thinks the US is starting to see a flattening of the curve in New York. “I don’t want to jump the gun on that but I think that is the case,” he said.
The Gauteng province has rolled out its screening and testing campaign to all five districts, screening a total of 26,841 people and testing 440 of those who displayed symptoms of the coronavirus.
Addressing a briefing by the Provincial Command Council on Thursday, Gauteng premier David Makhura said healthcare professionals have conducted screenings as of 31 March in Johannesburg, Sedibeng, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and the West Rand.
“Johannesburg is the epicentre of Covid-19 in the province and the country with 440 cases, followed by Ekurhuleni 111 cases, Tshwane with 90 cases, West Rand with 12 cases and Sedibeng with six cases. We have an additional 123 cases that are unallocated as of 8 April 2020,” Makhura said.
Gauteng has improved and enhanced its capacity to trace contacts using technology and so far 90% of all contacts have been traced.
“Being able to trace those who have come into contact with those who have tested positive is one of the key things that the world is battling with… this is very important in order to curb the spread of Covid-19,” the premier said.
Plans are in place for the province to improve contact tracing. There is a national process to assist the province with additional technology to do medical surveillance of those people who test positive, and their contacts.
President Cyril Ramaphosa meanwhile, has expressed confidence in the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) technology and data which will enable the country to fight against the Coronavirus (Covid-19).
“As a nation we should be proud that we have an institution like the CSIR which is always trying to be ahead of the curve in terms of bringing solutions for the nation to utilize,” the president said.
He made the remarks on Thursday during his visit to the Department of Health (DoH)’s Covid-19 Information Centre, a data centre set up to monitor and track the spread of the COVID-19.
“The CSIR has stepped up to the plate and they are doing this in the most scientific way. They have information of 45 million South Africans, through the Department of Health’s National Health Insurance programme. As we are managing the Coronavirus through technology and science, we already have a very good platform and a base.
“They are already linking provinces, districts and all the hospitals, all the beds that are available and hotels that can be used for isolation or quarantine centres. All that is available here and will enable us to fight Covid-19,” the president said.