138,134 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 2,456

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now 138,134 total cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 6,334 cases from 131,800 cases reported on Saturday – when a record 24-hour high of 7,210 cases was recorded.

The minister announced 43 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 2,456 casualties, with 68,925 recoveries to date.

A total of 1.57 million tests have been conducted to date, with 38,075 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, Dr Mkhize said.

“We are seeing a rapid rise in the cumulative number of positive Covid-19 cases indicating that, as we had expected, we are approaching a surge during the latter winter months of July and August.

“It is anticipated that while every province will unfortunately witness an increase in their numbers, areas where there is high economic activity will experience an exponential rise –  beginning with Gauteng and Western Cape and followed by Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.”

Globally, since 31 December 2019 and as of 28 June 2020, in excess of 10 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, including in excess of 501,000 deaths, and nearly 5.5 million recoveries.

The second vaccine developed by Sinopharm meanwhile, has been found to be safe and able to generate high concentrations of antibodies among participants in phase I and II clinical trials, according to a Weibo posting by Sinopharm Group on Sunday.

Participants who got two shots at either three- or four-week intervals have generated neutralizing antibodies, a measurement of the vaccine’s ability to stimulate specific immune response to the coronavirus, Bloomberg reported.

The vaccine is jointly developed by Sinopharm’s Beijing research institute and Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gauteng hotspot

Gauteng’s infections have almost doubled, from 17,261 to 31,344 and the province now faces a major increase in fatalities, the Sunday Times reports.

Citing modelling data from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the paper said that Gauteng’s fatalities — which reached 149 on Friday — could potentially triple every two weeks.

Commenting on the data,Wits University health economist, professor Alex van den Heever, said Gauteng will reach the Western Cape’s 24-hour death figure – around 50 deaths a day – within the next two weeks.

He further cautioned that while Gauteng might have a smaller number of cases overall, at 1,500 daily infections, its new cases now exceed the 1,400 daily infections in the Western Cape.

This was reiterated by Wits Univesity vaccinologist professor Shabir Madhi, who told the Sunday Times that within three weeks, Gauteng will match the Western Cape’s current case numbers.

There are also concerns that the province is not as well prepared for an influx in coronavirus cases as the Western Cape is. There are five quarantine sites in the province, while no field hospitals have been built and the shortage of beds is expected to reach 5,000 in two weeks.


Read: Gauteng is quickly becoming South Africa’s coronavirus hotspot

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138,134 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 2,456