Minister of health Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that South Africa now has 52,991 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
This is up by 2,112 from the 50,879 infections on Monday, when the country reported 2,594 new cases.
The minister announced 82 new deaths, taking the total up to 1,162, while recoveries increased to 29,006, which translates to a recovery rate of 54.8%.
A total of 968,070 tests have been conducted to date, of which 25,012 tests have been conducted over the past 24-hour period.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) June 9, 2020
Globally, coronavirus cases topped 7.2 million globally on Tuesday, while deaths have exceeded 409,000, with more than 3.55 million recoveries.
New analysis from researchers at Boston and Harvard universities suggests the coronavirus could have been circulating in China earlier than previously estimated, Bloomberg reported.
While the pathogen is thought to have first made the jump from animals to humans in Wuhan, China, sometime in late November or early December, analysis of internet search terms and satellite imagery suggest a pickup in activity potentially related to the coronavirus there as early as the summer.
The team led by Boston University’s Elaine Nsoesie and Harvard’s Benjamin Rader analyzed satellite images of hospital parking lots and inquiries about common coronavirus symptoms like “cough” and “diarrhea” on the Chinese search engine Baidu to find traffic in both posted an unusual increase much earlier than the previously assumed December start date for the pandemic.
Moving to higher alert levels
President Cyril Ramaphosa has spoken out around the rise in reported coronavirus cases and deaths in South Africa.
“Yesterday, 8 June 2020, marked a solemn milestone in our country’s fight against the coronavirus, as the number of our fellow citizens who have lost their lives to this disease passed the 1,000 mark, reaching 1,080,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
“Over 400,000 deaths have now been recorded across the world, making this one of the most devastating pandemics in the last century. Each one of these deaths is a tragedy.”
Ramaphosa offered condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and warned that the coronavirus presents a real danger to all of us.
“While some have tried to downplay the threat posed by the coronavirus, the majority of South Africans have understood its danger and have acted accordingly. Indeed, the patience and solidarity demonstrated by so many South Africans have saved many thousands of lives.
“In the weeks and months ahead, we will continue to take whatever action is necessary to safeguard the lives of our citizens. ”
Ramaphosa said that this could include the reintroduction of higher lockdown levels in parts of the country to help stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
“While our country has had sufficient capacity to cope with the rate of infection so far, we continue to monitor the situation closely. If necessary, we will impose a higher alert level in specific parts of the country to prevent a rapid increase in cases.
“It is, therefore, crucial that all South Africans adhere to the restrictions that remain in place and continue to take basic precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.
“These precautions remain our best defence against the coronavirus and are necessary to save lives,” he said.