Friday, 10 April 10, 2020

South Africa has 2 003 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19), with 24 deaths.

On Friday, 10 April, the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, said the country has recorded 410 recoveries.

To date, Gauteng has the highest number of positive cases with 801, followed by the Western Cape with 541. KwaZulu-Natal has 412, Free State 94, Eastern Cape 68, Limpopo 24, Mpumalanga 20, North West 18 and the Northern Cape 15, with 10 unallocated cases.

KwaZulu-Natal has recorded the highest number of deaths with 12, followed by the Western Cape with 6 and Gauteng and the Free State with three, respectively.

The Minister said with the President having extended the national lockdown by two weeks, screening and social distancing will continue to be key pillars in slowing the spread of the virus.

Furthermore, 13 488 tracers have been brought on board to help the country to find the contacts of those who test positive for COVID-19.

“We want to call on everyone to cooperate with the screening processes. Contact tracing, screening and test referring will be our strongest way going forward. We must have a new culture of social distancing, and no hugs, kissing or shaking of hands.

“Contact tracing is important. We need to scale up the screening of patients in various communities. Thus far, 456 074 people have been screened in the provinces,” said the Minister, adding that 73 028 COVID-19 tests have been conducted.

He said the widespread use of masks is now recommended in the arsenal against the virus.

“We recommend the widespread use of cloth masks. Individuals can make their own masks.

“There shouldn’t be a need for everyone to wear surgical masks. Let’s reserve those for the frontline workers treating patients,” Mkhize said.

He warned, however, that people must be cautious when using masks.

“Don’t keep touching or removing the mask. Treat the mask as potentially infective. Ensure regular washing of the mask,” the Minister said.

Mkhize said authorities have met with a large number of unions, where the protection of health workers was discussed.

“We were able to agree on the issue that protection of staff is the most important. No member of staff will be forced to go to work without the respective gear that they need in their designated position,” Mkhize said.

The Minister said he is impressed with the unity that has been shown during this time among all quarters of society.

Effects of lockdown

Since the lockdown came into effect at midnight on 26 March, the rate at which new cases have been identified in South Africa has slowed significantly, according to Mkhize.

In the two weeks before the lockdown, the average daily increase in new cases was around 42%. Since the start of the lockdown, the average daily increase has been around 4%, the Minister said.