394,948 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa, with 572 new deaths

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now a total of  394,948 cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 13,150 cases from the 381,798 infections reported on Tuesday.

The minister announced 572 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 5,940 casualties.

He pointed to 229,175 recoveries to date.

A total of 2.585 million tests have been conducted, with 48,553 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, Dr Mkhize said.

Since 31 December 2019 and as of 22 July 2020, approximately 15.1 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, including approximately 621,000 deaths, and around 9.1 million recoveries.

Zimbabwe imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew and warned of stiff penalties for people who break quarantine rules as the number of Covid-19 cases surges, Bloomberg reported.

The new restrictions are being introduced a week before opposition and civil society groups planned to stage nationwide demonstrations over state corruption and the government’s handling of a prolonged economic crisis.

The number of coronavirus infections in Zimbabwe almost doubled to 1,713 by Tuesday, from 985 a week earlier, as the number of deaths jumped by 40% to 26.

The number of locally transmitted cases has also exceeded imported ones for the first time, president Emmerson Mnangagwa said in a televised address.

“We have a very serious situation at our doorstep,” Mnangagwa said late Tuesday, after earlier calling the surge in infections “frightening.”

The new restrictions, to remain in place indefinitely, include:

  • A curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., to be enforced by the nation’s security forces
  • Businesses will only be allowed to operate from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Tourism outline

Tourism minister Mmamokolo Kubayi-Ngubane says the department is finalizing the country’s tourism recovery plan with a view of submitting it to Cabinet next month.

She said this when she outlined the department’s priorities for the year ahead during a National Assembly virtual mini-plenary on Wednesday.

She said this as the tourism sector finds itself in a severe state due to the after-effects of lockdown.

“Working together with various stakeholders we have put together the tourism Recovery plan and we are in the final stages of consultation and we will within the month of August submit the plan for Cabinet for Approval.

“So far, the indications are that Tourism recovery will experience a number of phases, from hyper-local community attractions, through to broader domestic tourism, regional land and air markets, and resumption of world-wide international travel,” she said.

Kubayi-Ngubane said with regards to interventions, the department envisages that phase one of interventions will primarily focus on the protection of the domestic supply side of the sector. In phase two, the emphasis will be on managing the re-opening of the sector as tourism activities scale up.

Phase 3 will target factors that can drive long term growth in tourism supply and demand.

“One intervention that will drive demand in the recovery period is the MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) sector.

“We will aggressively bid to host large international events in anticipation of the opening of the borders so that upon opening, we can immediately drive up demand for our supply market and also build confidence that South Africa is safe and open for business,” she said.

The minister said the department would work with its sister departments and tourism stakeholders in implementing a set of interventions so that they can induce a quick recovery.

This will include readiness for the rollout of the e-visa system, resolving the challenges around the issuance of licenses for tour operators, and ensuring that all the marketing campaigns, globally and domestically and associated partnerships are in place and ready to be rolled out.

“We have also been engaging with global bodies so that we coordinate with our partners around the world, especially our source markets, in preparation for the sector recovery.”

Read: Early symptoms could determine severity of Covid-19 in patients: study

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394,948 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa, with 572 new deaths