445,433 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 6,769

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now a total of 445,433 cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 11,233 cases from the 434,200 infections reported on Saturday.

The data shows that there are 114 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 6,769 casualties, with a 24-hour high of 572 deaths reported on Wednesday evening.

Dr Mkhize pointed to 265,077  recoveries to date. A total of 2.77 million tests have been conducted, with 42,966 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, the minister said.


The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 16.0 million people and killed more than 640,000 worldwide since late January, when it was first reported.

The outbreak spread from the Chinese city of Wuhan to more than 180 countries and territories—affecting every continent except Antarctica. Efforts to stamp out the pneumonia-like illness have led to entire nations enforcing lockdowns, widespread halts of international travel, mass layoffs and battered financial markets.

The epicenter of the pandemic has continued to shift throughout the year. The first one was in China, then it shifted to Europe. Now the virus is surging in developing countries like South Africa and Brazil.

Since late March, the US has had the most infections globally, accounting for a quarter of the world’s confirmed cases and deaths.

Corruption

In South Africa, the pandemic has opened up a potential avenue for corruption and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is investigating dozens of companies and individuals who are believed to have benefited from dodgy Covid-19 tenders, the Sunday Times reported.

Deals believed to be worth more than R2.2 billion involving emergency purchases of personal protective equipment (PPE) are at the centre of the investigation, with 90 companies that received contracts from the Gauteng health department under the spotlight.

The group is also investigating R30 million in alleged irregular contracts in KwaZulu-Natal. The SIU will then move to the Eastern Cape, where it will probe a R4.8 million contract awarded by the OR Tambo municipality for a Covid awareness campaign.

“Our team has been there at the Gauteng treasury for a week or more. They have already established that there are 90 companies that they are investigating … just for the health department in relation to PPEs only. If one of them is to the value of R125 million and there are 90 of them, it’s a lot of money,’ said SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

“We’re looking at procurement in the main and adherence to the regulations from treasury. And those regulations were specific on issues of price. There was a clear regulation and framework put out by the National Treasury. We’re looking at whether people are adhering to those, among other things.”


Read: Why South Africa’s alcohol ban gets it wrong: experts

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445,433 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 6,769