3,635 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa – with 65 deaths

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that there are now 3,635 positive Covid-19 cases in South Africa.

This is up from 3,465 Covid-19 cases announced on Tuesday by the minister, meaning a rise of 170 cases over the past 24-hours.

Mkhize also confirmed that seven more people have died from the coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths to 65.

The total number of tests conducted to date is 133,774, of which 6,868 were conducted in the last 24 hours.

Globally, coronavirus cases approached 1.6 million infections, while deaths neared 180,000 and recoveries moved past 705,000 people.

BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc said the German regulatory authority, the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, has approved the Phase 1/2 clinical trial for BioNTech’s BNT162 vaccine programme. The companies are jointly developing BNT162, Bloomberg reported.

The trial is the first clinical trial of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate to start in Germany, the companies said, and is part of a global development programme. Pfizer and BioNTech will also conduct trials for BNT162 in the US upon regulatory approval, expected shortly.

The Chinese ambassador to the US meanwhile, called for a “serious rethinking” of relations between the world’s biggest economies in the face of the pandemic. Earlier, president Donald Trump stopped short of a sweeping immigration ban, but hinted at possible additional restrictions, Bloomberg reported.

The European Union’s 27 leaders will be asked to consider a 2 trillion-euro ($2.2 trillion) plan for the region’s post-pandemic recovery on Thursday, according to a document seen by Bloomberg News.

R500 billion coronavirus plan

Government has published a breakdown of its R500 billion economic support package to help offset the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s how the money will be distributed:

  • R20 billion – to fund the health response to fight coronavirus;
  • R20 billion – an additional amount to be made available to municipalities for the provision of emergency water supply, increased sanitisation of public transport and facilities, and providing food and shelter for the homeless;
  • R50 billion – to be used to relieve the plight of those who are most desperately affected by the coronavirus through social grants;
  • R100 billion – to be set aside for protection of jobs and to create jobs;
  • R40 billion – set aside for income support payments for workers whose employers are not able to pay their wages;
  • R2 billion – to be made available to assist small and medium enterprises and spaza shop owners and other small businesses;
  • R200 billion – a loan guarantee scheme to be introduced in partnership with the major banks, National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank to assist enterprises with operational costs, such as salaries, rent and the payment of suppliers;
  • R70 billion – amount of tax-related cash flow relief or direct payments to businesses and individuals;

Other measures include:

R100 million – value of assistance in the form of loans, grants and debt restructuring provided to small, medium and micro enterprises, spaza shop owners and other informal businesses;

R162 million – finance approved by the Industrial Development Corporation to support companies to procure or manufacture personal protective equipment;

A potential R80 billion – the amount unlocked after the South African Reserve Bank cut the repo rate by 200 basis point.

Ramaphosa said that funding for this package will be raised locally through institutions such as the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), and through international groups such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Read: New proposals for life after lockdown in South Africa

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3,635 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa – with 65 deaths