4,546 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa – as deaths climb to 87

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that there are now 4,546 positive Covid-19 cases in South Africa.

This is up from the 4,361 Covid-19 cases announced on Saturday by the minister, meaning a rise of 185 cases over the past 24-hours, with the country having seen nearly 750 infections in the prior 72-hour period.

Mkhize also reported that the number of deaths from the coronavirus now stands at 87, up from the 86 deaths reported on Saturday.

The Department of Health said that the latest death was reported in the Western Cape. The province has reported the most number of cases (1,608), followed by Gauteng (1,331) and KZN (863).

The minister said that 168,643 tests have been conducted to date, up from 161,004 previously.

Globally, nearly 2.5 million Covid-19 cases have been reported, with nearly 204,000 deaths, and more than 841,000 recoveries to date.

The restart of the world economy risks going ahead without a key ingredient: the consumer, Bloomberg reported.

Getting companies to resume operations and factories to reopen is one thing. Persuading consumers to brave catching the coronavirus and go out to shop, eat, travel or watch sports is another, it said.

“Nothing about reopening the economy will be easy, but restarting businesses will be more straightforward than restarting aggregate demand,” Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi said.

The result: An uneven reboot for the global economy, with manufacturing and the nations dependent on it bouncing back fairly quickly, while more communal service-sector activities and countries lag.

That will keep pressure on governments and central banks to continue their support as their economies claw their way back from the deepest worldwide downturn since the Great Depression.

South Africa stimulus

South Africa meanwhile, is counting on accessing R95 billion ($5 billion) from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and New Development Bank to help finance a R500 billion economic stimulus package, Bloomberg reported.

The money from the multilateral lenders is available only for Covid-19-related measures and the government would have to adhere to some broad agreements, including on what the funding may be used for and repayment terms, National Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane said in an interview with broadcaster eNCA on Sunday.

The agreements should not compromise the country’s sovereignty, Mogajane said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on April 21 unveiled the fiscal package to help fight the pandemic, provide aid to the poor and shore up an economy that the central bank projects will contract 6.1% this year.

The package includes a R200 billion loan-guarantee program, tax-relief measures and R130 billion that will be diverted from existing budgets.

Despite opposition from within the ANC, Ramaphosa and the Treasury have made it clear that the government will request the assistance, Bloomberg noted.

“We are looking for new money that is cheap,” Mogajane said. “The IMF said itself that it’s at 1% interest.”

Debt as a percentage of gross domestic product will increase from the estimates given in February because the country will still have to go to the market and borrow more, Mogajane said. The cost of borrowing has also increased due to recent credit-rating downgrades, he said.

It could take as many as six weeks to finalize a deal with the IMF, but, once the lender’s board has confirmed it, the money would be available within 72 hours, Mogajane said.

Read: Hair salons and nail bars will remain closed as South Africa enters curfew from 1 May

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4,546 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa – as deaths climb to 87