Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said in a statement on Saturday evening (2 May) that there are now 6,336 positive Covid-19 cases in South Africa.
This is up by 385 from the 5,951 Covid-19 cases announced on Friday.
Dr Mkhize also announced that a further seven people have died from the virus, taking total deaths to 123.
Recoveries now stand at 2,549, the minister said.
He said that 230,686 tests have been conducted to date, of which 13,164 were completed over the past 24 hours.
The Western Cape has 2,700 infections, followed by Gauteng, with 1,598 cases.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) May 2, 2020
Global coronavirus cases top 3.4 million, with more than 240,500 deaths, and close to 1.1 million recoveries.
Out of nearly 1.1 million infected patients, 51,065 (2%) are considered serious or critical.
The US Food and Drug Administration cleared Gilead Sciences Inc’s experimental antiviral drug, remdesivir, for emergency use and Japan began a special approval process for the treatment, Bloomberg reported.
It’s the first medication backed by early clinical data to be made available to fight the disease.
Virus survivors falling sick again
Bloomberg reports that many infected by the virus, having been cleared by health authorities, are testing positive for Covid-19 again.
“This so-called false-dawn phenomenon is puzzling health experts as they try to come to grips with the mysterious pathogen that emerged only five months ago.
“Solving the puzzle will inform a broad range of challenges, from the development of an effective vaccine to how soon governments may be able to safely end lockdowns and allow normal life to resume,” Bloomberg said.
So far, there hasn’t been enough research to conclude why symptoms seem to re-emerge in some people, and whether they experience reinfection or if the virus persists for weeks, it said.
Mounting hunger in SA
Mounting hunger, hardship and economic decline underscore the necessity of South Africa’s lifting the current lockdown, says the Institute of Race Relations (IRR).
“Catastrophic consequences still loom for millions of South Africans, who could yet lose their jobs and homes, exhaust their savings, and go bankrupt under mountains of debt.
“With the formal economy still operating at a fraction of its normal capacity, tens of thousands of small and micro businesses could also collapse before long. Many would have little or no prospect of ever coming back,” said IRR head of policy research Dr Anthea Jeffery.
The longer the lockdown remained in place, the more people will be pushed into poverty, Jeffery said.
Jeffery noted that estimates of the economic cost of the current lockdown range from R13 billion to R20 billion a day.
“The lockdown cannot and does not work in teeming townships and informal settlements, where homes cluster closely together, many structures house families of four or more, and scarce communal taps and toilets are shared among hundreds of residents,” Jeffery said.
The IRR recommends scrapping the lockdown with immediate effect within the parameters of three basic principles:
- Allowing all businesses to return to work, while shouldering the burden of safeguarding their staff, customers, and suppliers against the virus as far as is reasonably practicable;
- Maintaining social distancing for many months, and, if necessary, self-isolation or quarantining for the people most vulnerable to the virus; and
- Keeping children out of school until September, as allowing their earlier return risks undoing whatever gains the lockdown has brought.