Health minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize has warned that the peak for Covid-19 infections will likely continue into September.
“What we expect is that the numbers are still likely to increase. We expect, in terms of the models, that in August and September we will still have high numbers. Each province has got its own trajectory,” he said as part of a Q&A with the public on Sunday evening, broadcast by Newzroom Afrika.
The minister stressed that if the country does not practice social behavioural changes, the virus will continue to spread. “The numbers will always grow depending on how well as a community we can break the cycle.”
He once again called on South Africans to wear masks, practice physical distancing, sanitise and wash their hands.
Dr Mkhize said that the country is in the grips of the worst phase of the virus. “We expect the numbers are still likely to increase … August and September we’ll still have high numbers.”
“The peak will come in July, August and September,” said Mkhize.
We are still concerned about the numbers for August. The pattern varies according to Province. The Western Cape numbers are now reducing, KZN is the one that is now on the rise. #QuestionTime @Newzroom405
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) July 26, 2020
The minister reported that are now 445,433 confirmed cases of which 11,233 were reported in the last 24 hours.
The hardest-hit province remains Gauteng with 160,154 confirmed infections or 36% of the total, followed by the Western Cape (92,079), Eastern Cape (73,585) and KwaZulu-Natal (64,061).
The minister noted that Covid-19 has killed 114 more people on Sunday, pushing the death toll in the country, to 6,769.
Of the additional deaths, 34 were reported in Limpopo, 30 in the Western Cape, 29 in Gauteng, 12 in KwaZulu-Natal, seven in the Eastern Cape and two in the Northern Cape.
The recovery rate stands at 59.5% after 265,077 have been cured since the outbreak in March.
Mkhize said that the government is still concerned about the possible spike of infections in August.
“The pattern varies according to provinces. The Western Cape numbers are now reducing. KZN is the one that is now on the rise.”
The South African Covid-19 Modelling Consortium, a group of researchers from academic, non-profit, and government institutions across South Africa, projects that the peak will hit in mid-August – through to early September. The Gauteng model, which has the the country’s highest infection rate, has its peak as early September.
The Western Cape, however, the initial epicentre for the virus, could see a peak in early August.