250,687 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 3,860

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now 250,687 total cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 12,348 cases from the 238,339 cases reported on Thursday –  when a new 24-hour high for the country of 13,674 cases was reported.

The minister announced 140 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 3,860 casualties following a high of 192 deaths on Tuesday, while the minister pointed to 118,232 recoveries to date.

A total of two million tests have been conducted, with 56,663 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, Dr Mkhize said.

Globally since 31 December 2019 and as of 10 July 2020, around 12.4 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, with approximately 558,000 deaths and 7.25 million recoveries.

Gilead Sciences Inc said its remdesivir virus treatment is associated with a 62% reduction in the risk of death compared with the standard of care, Bloomberg reported.

The death rate with remdesivir was 7.6% at Day 14 versus 12.5% among those not taking remdesivir.

The finding is based on an analysis that combines results from a Phase 3 trial and a “real-world” retrospective cohort of patients with severe disease, the company said, noting that it requires confirmation in prospective clinical trials.

The company will present the data at the Virtual COVID19 Conference as part of the 23rd International AIDS Conference, according to a statement.

The treatment has been given emergency use authorisation for hospitalised patients with severe symptoms by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Moody’s warning

South African government debt could rise by 40 percentage points over the next three years as strong, widespread fiscal pressures and persistently low economic growth weigh on the nation’s credit profile, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

That would push government debt as a percentage of gross domestic product well over 100% and much higher than the 87.4% peak the Treasury projects for 2023-24 under its active management scenario, Bloomberg reported.

Increased spending driven by a R500 billion ($29.6 billion) stimulus package to shore up the economy against the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will widen the budget deficit to 15.6% of GDP and take debt up to 89.9% this fiscal year, Moody’s analysts led by Paris-based Lucie Villa said in a credit opinion published Thursday.

That’s despite the government’s efforts to fund the package by reprioritising spending and compares with the Treasury’s projection of 81.8%.

Africa’s most industrialised-economy will shrink by 6.5% this year due to the virus and strict lockdown measures that halted almost all economic activity for five weeks from 27 March, Moody’s said.

Read: Dis-Chem closes all Covid-19 testing facilities after patient numbers overwhelms labs

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250,687 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 3,860