Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now a total of 408,052 cases of coronavirus in South Africa.
This is an increase of 13,104 cases from the 394,948 infections reported on Wednesday.
The data shows that there are 153 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 6,093 casualties, while 572 deaths were reported on Wednesday evening, more than double the previous 24-hour high.
Dr Mkhize pointed to 236,260 recoveries to date.
A total of 2.63 million tests have been conducted, with 46,632 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, the minister said.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) July 23, 2020
Since 31 December 2019 and as of 23 July 2020, approximately 15.4 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, including approximately 631,000 deaths, and around 9.4 million recoveries.
Public schools will close for a month in South Africa amid concern that they lack proper protocols and sufficient protective equipment to keep teachers and pupils safe, president Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation on Thursday evening.
“We have taken a deliberately cautious approach to keep schools closed in a period when the country is expected to experience its greatest increase in infections,” he said.
“It is important to ensure that schools do not become sites of transmission.”
Eastern Cape concern
South Africa reported the highest death toll in a single day, with 572 people dying of Covid-19 on Wednesday.
Of the additional deaths, 400 were recorded in the Eastern Cape, 114 from Gauteng, 43 from the Free State, 35 from the Western Cape and 18 from KwaZulu-Natal.
Dr Mkhize chastised the Eastern Cape for under-reporting deaths during his visit in the province on Wednesday.
“MEC, I’m going to ask your team to continue to report deaths as they come and don’t wait or say you haven’t found all of them. You’ll never find them all. Just give us the report of the deaths on a daily basis,” Mkhize said to Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba.
While he said he understood that there were challenges, he urged the provincial health department not to go by a day without accounting for Covid-19 deaths as it breeds misrepresentation.
“It does give us a bit of distortion. You suddenly do not have deaths for one day then afterwards you have 400 deaths. It becomes the problem in terms of understanding the distribution,” he said.