7,220 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa – as deaths climb to 138

 ·4 May 2020

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now 7,220 positive Covid-19 cases in South Africa.

This is up by 437 from the 6,783 Covid-19 cases announced on Sunday, and from 447 announced on Saturday evening – the highest 24-hour tally to date in the country.

Dr Mkhize said in a statement on Monday (4 May), that a further seven people have died from the virus, taking total deaths to 138. Six of these deaths were reported in the Western Cape, with the seventh death reported in KZN.

A total of 257,541 tests have been completed, with 11,794 tests completed in the last 24 hours. 2,746 recoveries have been reported so far.

Globally, coronavirus infections moved past 3,585 million cases, with nearly 250,000 deaths, and 1.16 million recoveries.

President Donald Trump forecast as many as 100,000 US deaths from the virus, accused Beijing of attempting a cover up and promised a conclusive report on the pandemic’s origins, Bloomberg reported.

Trump said he has little doubt that China misled the world about the scale and risk of the coronavirus outbreak and then sought to cover it up as the disease became a global pandemic.

“I think they made a very horrible mistake,” Trump said during an interview Sunday night on Fox News. “They tried to cover it.”

He alluded to additional information he said will be coming out soon to back up his claims, which China has rejected, said Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, most EU countries have probably seen a peak in the initial wave of infections but governments shouldn’t drop their guard, according to Andrea Ammon, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

“Overall, the non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as stay-at-home policies and physical distancing measures have reduced the transmission and the 14-day incidents by 45% compared to April 8,” she told the European Parliament’s environment and health committee on Monday.

Cigarettes ban decision not taken lightly

An earlier decision by government to allow the sale of cigarettes during the Covid-19 lockdown was rescinded after the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) consulted medical experts and various role-players.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said this on Monday after sections of society implied that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had arbitrarily gazetted the ban.

Previously president Ramaphosa had announced that the sale of tobacco products would be allowed when the country moved to Level 4 of the nationwide lockdown. Level 4 of the lockdown, aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, began on Friday, 1 May.

“After careful consideration and discussion, the NCCC reconsidered its position on tobacco. As a result, the regulations ratified by Cabinet and announced by minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on 29 April extended the prohibition,” the president said in his weekly newsletter on Monday.

President Ramaphosa said the decision was made collectively.

“This was a collective decision and the public statements by both myself and the Minister were done on behalf of, and mandated by, the collective I lead.”

The president said every regulation was put in place after being carefully considered by government.

“The reality is that we are sailing in uncharted waters. There is still a great deal about the epidemiology of the virus that is unknown. It is better to err on the side of caution than to pay the devastating price of a lapse in judgment in future.”

However, the  South African government is facing a number of legal challenges around its level 4 lockdown restrictions as it is seen as overreaching on key issues.

Chief among these issues is the prohibition on the sale of tobacco products, with government indicating that the issue will not be referred for mediation as there ‘is nothing to negotiate’.

Read: New changes to South Africa’s coronavirus employee relief scheme and annual leave

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