205,721 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 3,310

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now 205,721 total cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 8,971 cases from the 196,750 cases reported on Sunday – with a new 24-hour high for the country of 10,853 cases  recorded over the weekend.

The minister announced 111 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 3,310 casualties and 97,848 recoveries to date.

A total of 1.86 million tests have been conducted, with 33,950 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, Dr Mkhize said.

Globally since 31 December 2019 and as of 6 July 2020, in excess of 11.6 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, with around 537,000 deaths and 6.55 million recoveries.

European Union officials were set to talk with Gilead Sciences Inc executives on Monday to hammer out a deal to secure its antiviral drug remdesivir to combat the coronavirus, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The discussions follow a US deal last week to snap up almost all the drugmaker’s supplies of remdesivir in the coming months, a move that sparked concern other countries wouldn’t have sufficient stocks.

Countries including the UK, Germany and Switzerland sought to reassure the public last week that they would have enough amid broader worries about countries racing ahead of other regions to lock up access to treatments and vaccines needed to help end the pandemic.

Remdesivir became one of the first widely used drugs for Covid-19 after a large clinical trial found the medicine sped recovery by about four days in hospitalized patients.

Later, University of Oxford researchers said that a large study showed that dexamethasone, a cheap generic anti-inflammatory, improves survival in severely ill patients.

Lockdown changes

The Gauteng provincial government says that it will not push for the return of a hard lockdown, but will instead further clamp down on activities which are not currently permitted.

This comes after Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku last week said that the province would look at a possible “intermittent” lockdown for its hardest-hit regions.

According to the Sunday Times, the Gauteng government approached the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) at the weekend, asking to introduce ‘hard lockdown’ measures in the province, which would include restriction of movement, cutting alcohol sales and shutting down parts of the economy.

However, speaking in an interview with eNCA on Monday (6 July), Gauteng provincial spokesperson Thabo Masebe said that the province will not push for a hard lockdown, and it has not asked the national government to put the region back to level 4 or 5.

“We are not calling for the return of hard lockdown. We fully understand and support the current risk-adjusted strategy, which is being implemented by the national government.

“We understand that under Level 3, we had to reopen the economy and more sectors. The schools are reopening and we fully support that.”

However, Masebe noted that the current level 3 lockdown is being breached frequently – citing examples of mass gatherings and protests across the province.

He said that the province will now ‘enforce’ current regulations to a greater degree as it faces a surge in coronavirus cases.

Read: Gauteng government says it won’t push for a hard lockdown – here’s what it plans to do instead

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205,721 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 3,310