3,953 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa – as deaths jump to 75

 ·23 Apr 2020

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that there are now 3,953 positive Covid-19 cases in South Africa, with the country experiencing its biggest daily climb in numbers to date.

This is up from 3,635 Covid-19 cases announced on Wednesday by the minister, meaning a rise of 318 cases over the past 24-hours.

According to Mkhize, while the large jump in numbers is concerning, it also comes as community screening and testing has ramped up significantly. So far, over 3.6 million people have been screened for the virus, with 24,174 sent for testing.

The total number of tests done to date are at 143,570, with total recoveries at 1,473.

The number of deaths has also increased, with 10 more people losing their lives to the virus, taking the total to 75.

The new deaths were recorded in the Western Cape (6 deaths), KwaZulu-Natal (2) and Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Confirming announcements from the Western Cape health department earlier today, the province has now overtaken Gauteng as the new epicentre of the virus.

There are now 1,279 confirmed cases in the Western Cape, versus 1,252 in Gauteng.

Globally, coronavirus cases reached 2.66 million infections, with 185,500 deaths, and 730,727 recoveries.

US president Donald Trump said he disagreed with the Georgia governor’s decision to begin relaxing curbs this week, a marked shift in tone, Bloomberg reported. Data showed the US has seen 26.5 million jobs vanish in five weeks of lockdown, the steepest downturn since the Great Depression as lawmakers convene to pass a $484 billion interim rescue plan.

Initial jobless claims of 4.43 million in the week ended April 18 followed a slightly downwardly revised 5.24 million in the prior week, according to Labor Department figures Thursday.

Europe’s leaders are set to hold a call on measures to address the crisis even as figures confirmed nationwide lockdowns have pushed the region’s economy into a record slump. More companies withdrew guidance.

The World Health Organisation said 83 coronavirus vaccines are in development globally, with six of them in human trials stage, Bloomberg said.

SA coronavirus fund and UIF payouts

Some 75,000 individuals have contributed to the Solidarity Relief Fund, Bloomberg reported, set up to aid those most in need in South Africa.

According to the Employment and Labour Department, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has made progress towards the Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) while ramping up normal benefits to ensure that workers are not inconvenienced during the lockdown.

“Just today [Wednesday], the Unemployment Insurance Fund has disbursed R92 million, which brings the total paid to date from April 16 to just under R1.8 billion. These payments cover up to 790 150 workers. In some cases, the claims have been paid within 24 hours of presentation,” said the department in a statement.

Meanwhile, Employment and Labour minister Thulas Nxesi said the fund will continue to process payments for ordinary benefits such as pregnancy, retrenchments and other paybacks – which have amounted to R804 million since the beginning of April.

“As enjoined by the president, we continue making sure we ease the load of lockdown. We still appeal to more employers to ensure that they apply for relief for their employees to ensure we do not leave anyone behind,” he said.

Read: The boss of a South African company that employs 20,000 people has made an impassioned plea to the president

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