521,318 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 8,884

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now a total of 521,318 cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 4,456 cases from the 516,862 infections reported previously.

The data shows that there are 345 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 8,884 casualties, following 173 deaths reported on Monday.

Dr Mkhize pointed to 363,751 recoveries to date.

A total of 3.07 million tests have been conducted, with 19,507 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, the minister said.

 

Since 31 December 2019 and as of 4 August 2020, approximately 18.5 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, including around 699,000 deaths.

The data pointed to approximately 11.7 million recoveries to date.

The Governor of Japan’s Osaka prefecture touted the powers of gargling medicine to control the coronavirus and recommended at-risk residents use it, Bloomberg reported.

Based on limited trial on a group of 41 patients with mild symptoms, gargling with diluted povidone-iodine four times a day reduced the number of those testing positive to 9.5% after four days, compared with 40% for a group who gargled with just water, Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

Povidone-iodine is an antiseptic more commonly known as betadine.

“It’s worth giving a try,” Yoshimura said, recommending its use to residents with symptoms and those working in high-risk industries such as bars, restaurants and health-care. “It’s a drug that everyone can buy at a drug store and it doesn’t do any harm.”

The finding isn’t based on data from a large, randomized, controlled trial – the gold standard for assessing the safety and efficacy of any potential therapy. When asked by a reporter if it was appropriate to be touting the medicine at such an early stage in its research, Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui, who was also speaking at the briefing, questioned back if he was supposed to ignore the findings.

“We’ve always been asking people to gargle, in addition to washing their hands, wearing a mask and social distancing,” said Matsui.

“Now we’re just saying there were better results when they gargled with this instead of gargling with nothing.”

No breastfeeding link

The novel Coronavirus cannot be passed on to babies through breast milk, said health minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize.

“I can assure you that Covid-19 has not been found in breast milk and research evidence has shown that the virus is not transmitted through breast milk or by giving breast milk that has been expressed from a mother who is confirmed or suspected to have Covid-19,” he said.

Speaking during the World Breastfeeding Week virtual commemoration on Tuesday, the minister said breast milk remains the best nutrition for babies even during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are mindful that families, mothers, caregivers and even some healthcare workers, in particular, are worried and asking many questions whether the Coronavirus can be passed on through breast milk and how can they protect themselves and their babies.”

According to Mkhize, great progress has been made in studying mothers and babies who have been affected by Covid-19 and breastfeeding in the context of Covid-19 came under the spotlight.

“Based on these studies, mothers who have been suspected as or confirmed Covid-19 positive are encouraged to continue breastfeeding while practising good respiratory hygiene,” he added.

These include wearing a mask, washing hands with soap and water, or using hand sanitiser and routinely cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

“A baby’s immune system is not yet fully developed and requires immune protection from breast milk. This life-saving protection is more important than ever right now during the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.


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521,318 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 8,884