Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said in a statement on Friday evening (1 May) that there are now 5,951 positive Covid-19 cases in South Africa.
This is up by 304 from the 5,647 Covid-19 cases announced on Thursday.
Dr Mkhize also announced that a further 13 people have died from the virus, taking total deaths to 116.
A total of 217,522 tests have been completed to date, with 9,992 tests completed in the last 24 hours. Total recoveries stands at 2,382.
The latest figures coincide with South Africa moving into a level 4 lockdown, with more than 1.5 million people expected to rejoin the workforce over the next week.
— Department of Health: COVID-19 (@COVID_19_ZA) May 1, 2020
Globally, coronavirus cases stand at more than 3.32 million cases, and nearly 235,000 deaths. There have been 1.05 million recoveries to date.
Out of the current 2.04 million active cases, 50,823 (2%) are deemed to be serious or critical.
The coronavirus pandemic is likely to last as long as two years and won’t be controlled until about two-thirds of the world’s population is immune, a group of experts said in a report.
Because of its ability to spread from people who don’t appear to be ill, the virus may be harder to control than influenza, the cause of most pandemics in recent history, according to the report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
People may actually be at their most infectious before symptoms appear, the report said, as noted by Bloomberg.
US president, Donald Trump meanwhile, verbally attacked Sweden over the country’s relaxed approach to fighting Covid-19.
Trump, who is facing criticism at home for initially playing down the threat of a pandemic, on Thursday sought to direct attention toward developments in Sweden, Bloomberg reported.
“Despite reports to the contrary, Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown,” he tweeted.
Despite reports to the contrary, Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown. As of today, 2462 people have died there, a much higher number than the neighboring countries of Norway (207), Finland (206) or Denmark (443). The United States made the correct decision!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2020
Moving to level 3
Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, says that South Africa should be able to move to a level 3 lockdown ‘rapidly’, provided it avoids a sharp increase in the levels of infections of Covid-19.
Level 3 would enable things like limited air travel, and the sale of alcohol, subject to limited hours, namely Mondays to Wednesday, between 08h00 and 12h00.
The minister was addressing the Portfolio Committee on Trade, Industry and Competition, together with the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business, Tourism, Employment and Labour on Friday, 1 May.
Patel said that, should the country avoid a sharp increase in the levels of infections with the return to work of large numbers of workers, and is able to expand testing and healthcare facilities, the economy could shift to level 3 as soon as possible.
The minister told the committees that the country does not need to stay at level 4, which commenced on Friday 1 May, for a specific number of weeks but, can move rapidly to a lower level should risks be mitigated.