124,590 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 2,340

Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now 124,590 total cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 6,215 cases from 118,375 cases reported on Thursday, while a record 24-hour high of 6,579 infections were reported on Wednesday evening.

The minister announced 48 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total up to 2,340, and a mortality rate of 1.9%, while recoveries increased to 64,111 which translates to a recovery rate of 51.5%.

A total of 1.49 million tests have been conducted to date, with 33,092 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, Dr Mkhize said.


Globally, since 31 December 2019 and as of 26 June 2020, in excess of 9.7 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, including in excess of 492,000 deaths, and more than 5.27 million recoveries.

Sweden’s state epidemiologist has lashed out against the World Health Organization, accusing it of misinterpreting Covid-19 data and overstating the health risks his country faces, Bloomberg reported.

Anders Tegnell, the architect of Sweden’s hands-off response to fighting the pandemic, said the WHO made a “total mistake” by putting the nation on a list that shows where “accelerated transmission has led to very significant resurgence that, if left unchecked, will push health systems to the brink once again in Europe.”

The list, which includes 11 countries, fails to take into consideration the nuances in Sweden’s approach to testing, according to Tegnell.

Sweden has one of the world’s highest Covid-19 mortality rates. Still, at no point has Sweden’s Covid crisis overburdened its state-funded universal health-care system.

Lockdown levels

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma has published a new directive outlining the businesses that can reopen under the country’s advanced level 3 lockdown.

The directive, published on Thursday evening (25 June), comes more than a week after president Cyril Ramaphosa announced that more businesses will be allowed to reopen.

Notably, while the directive states that business sectors such as sit-down restaurants are allowed to open, it does not provide specific directions for their reopening.

Instead, the gazette states that this information will be published in a directive at a later date ‘by the responsible cabinet minister’. A number of additional directives are also expected to provide further clarity around other sectors.

Below are some of the most important changes for businesses and individuals.


Leaving your home and exercise

The directive states that a person may leave his or her place of residence to:

  • Perform any service, as permitted under alert level 3;
  • Travel to and from work;
  • Buy goods or obtain services, as permitted under alert level 3;
  • Move children, as allowed;
  • Exercise between the hours of 06h00 to 18h00: Provided that the exercise is not done in organised groups of more than four people and adheres to health protocols and social distancing measures;
  • Attend a place of worship in the same or another metropolitan area or district within the same province;
  • Attend a school or learning institution, once these are opened;
  • Travel for leisure purposes as allowed under Alert Level 3.

Gatherings

All gatherings are prohibited except a gathering at:

  • A faith-based institution, which is limited to 50 persons or less, depending on the size of the place of worship. All health and safety protocols must also be met;
  • A funeral (subject to regulations);
  • A workplace for work purposes;
  • Conferences and meetings, subject to a limitation of 50 persons, excluding those who participate through electronic platforms. These are limited to business purposes and must follow  all health and safety guidelines.

Cinemas and theatres

Cinemas can open subject to:

  • A limitation of 50 persons or less;
  • Sale of tickets through a booking system; and
  • Strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures as provided for in directions that must be issued by the responsible cabinet member.

Theatres can open subject to:

  • A limitation of 50 persons or less;
  • Strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures as provided for in directions that must be issued by the responsible cabinet member.
  • Limitation on performers and crew to a maximum of 15 persons including live streaming or recording for distribution on digital platforms;

Casinos

Cinemas can open subject to:

  • A restriction on the number of persons allowed in the casino to not more than 50% of the available floor space, with patrons observing a distance of least one and a half metres from each other. This percentage may be increased by the minister;
  • Strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures as provided for in directions that must be issued by the responsible cabinet member.

Restaurants

Restaurants are allowed to reopen subject to the strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures as provided for in directions that must be issued by the responsible cabinet member, after consultation with the minister of health.

On Thursday, Restaurants Association of South Africa chief executive officer, Wendy Alberts, called for the new regulations to allow restaurants to seat at 70% capacity and allow the consumption of alcohol on the premises.


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124,590 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 2,340