Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has warned of the likelihood of additional restrictions in South Africa as a result of rising Covid-19 infections.
The minister told SABC’s Morning Live on Friday that the necessary parties will meet with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), led by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to discuss interventions.
South Africa recorded more than 3,000 new Covid-19 infections in a single day on Thursday (14 May) for the first time in three months.
Dr Mkhize noted that 42,073 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, with 3,221 new cases, representing a 7.7% positivity rate.
South Africa now has 1.6 million confirmed cases since the outbreak, while the country logged 44 deaths on Thursday, pushing the total to 55,012.
Of the latest fatalities, 19 are from Free State, 13 are from Gauteng, five from the Western Cape, three from KwaZulu-Natal and two each from the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.
As of today, the total number of confirmed #COVID19 cases is 1 605 252 the total number of deaths is 55 012 the total number of recoveries is 1 520 878 and the total number of vaccines administered is 455 169. pic.twitter.com/rP3E15mfIE
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) May 13, 2021
“We convey our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the healthcare workers who treated the deceased patients,” said Mkhize.
Meanwhile, the recovery rate now stands at 94.7% after 1.52 millon patients beat SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The minister said the country is currently home to 29,362 active cases.
“The numbers have picked up, particularly this week,” the minister said, adding that provincial governments have been contacted to prepare for rising infections, as have hospitals and care centres.
He said that the government has discussed the rising numbers. “At some point we are going to have to start looking at additional restrictions,” he said.
“We are going to be recommending that there should be more focus on the size of gatherings, and look at the focus on some of the measures that were actually released when we thought the situation was much more improved.”
He highlighted the importance of trying to maintain a balance to ensure that people continue to be able to work. “We do need to send a strong message still, that people can’t be complacent.”
He pointed to the high infection rate in India, mainly as a result of super spreader events. The minister said that restricting the size of events will be discussed in future meeting, adding that the country will have to live with critical interventions for the remainder of the year.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet has meanwhile extended South Africa’s national state of disaster by a further month.
In a statement made following a cabinet meeting on Thursday (13 May), it said that the state of disaster will now continue until 15 June 2021.