493,183 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 8,005

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now a total of 493,183 cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 11,014 cases from the 482,169 infections reported previously.

The data shows that there are 193 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 8,005 casualties, following 315 deaths reported on Thursday.

Dr Mkhize pointed to 326,171 recoveries to date.

A total of 2.95 million tests have been conducted, with 41,486 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, the minister said.

Since 31 December 2019 and as of 31 July 2020, around 17.6 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, with approximately 680,000 deaths.

Reports point to 11 million recoveries to date.

Namibia will reopen its borders to visitors next week to revive the nation’s tourism industry, president Hage Geingob said.

Tourists won’t be subjected to a mandatory quarantine, but will be required to remain at their first initial destination for seven days, Bloomberg reported.

If a test given in that period is negative, visitors will be free to travel elsewhere, the president said.

The southwest African nation has recorded 2,129 coronavirus cases and 10 virus-related deaths. The tourism sector in Namibia, which began closing its borders in March, employs more than 100,000 people.

Funerals and protests and Covid-19

Funerals and protests continue to be a breeding ground for the spread of Coronavirus in Gauteng, said premier David Makhura.

Speaking during the Gauteng Provincial Command Council update on Friday, the premier said he was particularly worried about public gatherings.

Soweto is now the Gauteng’s hotspot and has overtaken the Inner City and Mayfair, followed by the Alexandra and Wynberg area.

“If you have a funeral at a hotspot, more people are likely to be infected,” said the premier, noting that some residents continue to gather socially and host parties, which is prohibited by the regulations.

The premier cited a time when infections in Soshanguve, Mabopane and Ga-Rankuwa were shooting up. “We traced it from one funeral [and another]… where over 1 000 people attended the funeral on 17 July (sic).”

Makhura said he was also concerned about public transport, which poses a threat ever since the economy opened.

While the number of daily Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks of July have been decreasing, it is too early to celebrate, Makhura said.

In Ekurhuleni, which is home to Tembisa, and Diepsloot in Johannesburg, the rate of infections has been dropping.

“We’re still in the midst of the storm. We still need to take the necessary precautions,” the Premier said, urging citizens to take personal responsibility for their safety.

Makhura said the province has 400 ward-based teams out of 500, which consist of health workers, who are driving awareness campaigns.

Not out of the woods

Dr Mary Kawonga, who is leading the provincial Covid-19 advisory committee, said Gauteng has not reached the peak of infections.

“There’s ongoing transmission of this infection in the population,” Kawonga said, adding that there were still transmissions occurring in areas outside the hotspots.

Kawonga stressed the need to keep medically vulnerable people safe from infection.

She stressed the importance of adopting non-pharmaceutical measures to curb the spread.

“Social distancing is our first point of call. There are situations where we can’t socially distance as well as we’d like to, such as getting into a taxi to get home,” she said, urging people to use masks in public.

Kawonga said people should play their role, as government is doing its part. She appealed to those who are meant to be in isolation or quarantine to adhere to the rules.

“We’ve had reports of people still going out shopping, going out with friends and still visiting when they have Covid-19,” she said, urging people not be lulled into a sense of false security when they start to feel better.

She urged people to avoid gatherings and adhere to the funeral and religious regulations, as the province identifies hotspots that are growing rapidly.

Read: The Western Cape has passed its coronavirus peak, and there are good signs for Gauteng: Mkhize

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493,183 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 8,005