22,583 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths rise to 429

 ·24 May 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that there are now 22,583 confirmed cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of  1,240 cases from the 21,343 cases reported on Saturday, when the country reported its previous highest 24-hour increase in infections – 1,218 cases.

Addressing the nation on Sunday evening (24 May), the president said that the total number of deaths has now reached 429 – an increase of  22 deaths from 407 reported before.

The president said that there are 11,000 active cases in the country – 800 in hospital, and 128 in intensive care.

“We have conducted well over 580,000 tests and 12 million screenings,” the president said.

“We must get used to living with this virus for some time to come,” he said.

Globally, coronavirus cases topped 5.4 million globally on Sunday, while deaths have exceeded 344,000, with nearly 2.3 million recoveries.

Covid-19 patients are no longer infectious after 11 days of getting sick even though some may still test positive, according to a new study by infectious disease experts in Singapore, Bloomberg said.

A positive test “does not equate to infectiousness or viable virus,” a joint research paper by Singapore’s National Centre for Infectious Diseases and the Academy of Medicine, Singapore said.

The virus “could not be isolated or cultured after day 11 of illness.”

The paper was based on a study of 73 patents in the city-state.

Returning to work

Investec chief executive officer Fani Titi saw a sign of things to come when he dropped by the bank’s headquarters last week, Bloomberg reported.

The usually buzzing escalators that criss-cross the four-story building in Sandton, South Africa’s business capital, were eerily silent. He was one of only 440 employees in an office block normally occupied by 10 times that number.

As manufacturers, miners and industries prepare their factories and offices to receive their employees, banks have found there’s no need to immediately go back.

“We have established that we can work very effectively from outside of the building,” Titi said in an interview.

“In the fourth quarter of the year we may see an increase. But I don’t think we’ll ever get back to a situation where you will have approximately 95% of your people in one place.”

Bloomberg meanwhile, reported that AngloGold Ashanti temporarily halted work at its Mponeng gold mine in South Africa after 164 workers tested positive for Covid-19.

The world’s no. 3 gold miner detected a cluster of positive infections after a mass testing campaign and the majority of cases are asymptomatic, said Chris Nthite, the company’s spokesman.

“Operations at Mponeng Mine – which were running at 50% capacity – have been temporarily halted on a voluntary basis, to complete contact tracing and to again deep clean and sanitize the workplace and key infrastructure,” Nthite said.

Read: South African banks prepare to keep employees at home – even as restrictions ease

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