Tuesday, 07 September 2020

Pretoria: The number of COVID-19-related deaths has surpassed the 15 000 mark in South Africa.

This is after 115 more fatalities were reported on Monday, bringing the total to 15 004.

Forty-three were recorded in Limpopo, 25 in KwaZulu-Natal, 13 in the Western Cape, 12 in the Eastern Cape, 10 in the North West, seven in the Free State and five in Gauteng.

“We extend our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the healthcare workers who treated the deceased patients,” Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, said.

Meanwhile, 566 555 patients have recuperated, which translates to a recovery rate of 88.6%.

There are 639 362 confirmed infections since the outbreak, after 846 new cases were identified.

Gauteng remains the epicentre after 213 087 cases were recorded, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 114 904, the Western Cape 107 244 and the Eastern Cape 86 868.

The least affected provinces include the Free State with 39 986 cases, North West 26 294, Mpumalanga 25 125, Limpopo 13 769 and the Northern Cape 12 085.

The data is based on the 3 808 949 tests performed, 8 759 of which were done in the last 24 hours.

In an interview with the SABC’s Morning Live, Mkhize said while the number of infections is reducing, the worst is not yet over.

“We are worried about the resurgence. Globally, we are now at number seven. This tells us two things: one, the numbers are declining in South Africa; two, globally, the numbers are still increasing.”

Mkhize said government is not ready to open the economy completely.

“We are moving in that direction. The economy does need to be opened, however, we will ease into the decrease in restrictions.”

The South African Medical Research Council has reported that there are 41 424 excess deaths between 6 May and 25 August.

However, Mkhize said not all excess deaths are COVID-19 related.

“When our numbers were very high, the number of excess deaths was also high. We are tracking these excess deaths. Unnatural deaths during the lockdown reduced drastically. We are seeing that increase now again,” he said.

Nearly 27 million COVID-19 cases and 900 000 deaths have been reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to date.

According to WHO, while cases in South Africa have declined for the week ending 6 September, the country continues to report the highest number of cases in the region, accounting for 37% of all new cases.

Other countries reporting a high number of cases include Ethiopia, Algeria, Namibia and Kenya.

Nigeria’s cases have declined by 35%, compared to the previous week from 24 to 30 August, while the number of reported deaths increased by 200%.