529,877 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa with 414 new deaths

 ·5 Aug 2020

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now a total of 529,877 cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 8,559 cases from the 521,318 infections reported previously.

The data shows that there are 414 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 9,298 casualties, following 345 deaths reported on Tuesday.

Dr Mkhize pointed to 377,266 recoveries to date.

A total of 3.11 million tests have been conducted, with 34,989 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, the minister said.

Since 31 December 2019 and as of 5 August 2020, approximately 18.75 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, including around 705,000 deaths.

The data pointed to approximately 12 million recoveries to date.

Large sporting matches and music festivals pose special dangers due to the crowds involved and only countries that have the virus under control should allow them, but they need to do so gradually and limit the number of spectators, said Mike Ryan, head of the World Health Organisation’s Health Emergencies Program.

“We all want sport back, we all want our festivals back,” he said Wednesday, Bloomberg reported.

“But it’s very unrealistic in countries with community transmission that we’re going to see large gatherings like that this year.”

People need to consider all social events’ risks, said Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s top epidemiologist on Covid-19. “It’s not only the football matches,” she said.

“This should be considered about birthday parties, about sleepovers.”

Countries experiencing intense transmission throughout the population need to be careful about schools, Ryan said.

“We have to do everything possible to bring our children back to school, and the most effective thing that we can do is to stop the disease in the community.”

WHO surge team expected in SA

The first team of experts from the World Health Organisation, who will assist South Africa in its fight against Coronavirus, is set to arrive in the country on Wednesday.

A total of 43 senior experts from across the globe, including renowned specialists Dr David Heymann (a seasoned infectious disease epidemiologist and public health expert) and Dr Mike Ryan, are among the team that will assist the country to refine its efforts against the pandemic.

“Dr Mike Ryan will lead the team from Geneva and will… provide us with constant advice while analysing our strategies, including the decisions we have taken as the Department of Health in our Covid-19 response,” said Dr Mkhize.

The Minister made the announcement during a virtual briefing on Wednesday where he provided an update on government’s efforts to fight coronavirus.

The arrival of the team of experts comes as South Africa ranks in the top five globally in terms of the number of infections.

Making the announcement, Mkhize thanked WHO director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for his continuous support and counsel.

“We see this as a great opportunity not only to improve our health strategies during this pandemic, but also to accelerate our path towards health care reform,” said the minister.

The first 17 experts will touch down on South African soil today and will complete a period of quarantine and initiation before being deployed within the department and across various provinces.

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