Saturday, 18 April 2020

Pretoria: South Africa has 3 034 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 903 recoveries and 52 deaths, the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, said on Saturday.

Mkhize held a virtual briefing on Saturday evening, where he released the country’s latest COVID-19 statistics.

Gauteng has the majority of COVID-19 cases at 1 101, while the Western Cape has 836.

KwaZulu-Natal has 604, Eastern Cape 270, Free State 100 and Limpopo 26 cases.

In addition, the North West has 24 cases, Mpumalanga 25 and the Northern Cape 16.

There were 32 unallocated cases.

To date, 108 021 COVID-19 tests have been conducted.

The majority of those who had passed away were the elderly.

“The majority of the deceased patients have been generally elderly people and individuals who had underlying comorbidities. It has tended to be consistent worldwide. We find that people with other ailments tend to succumb to those ailments, especially if affected by COVID-19.

“Of course in some instances, COVID-19 might be the one that becomes a complicating factor,” said the Minister.

Mkhize urged vulnerable groups to adhere to their treatment regimen and to stay at home in order to reduce their exposure to COVID-19 infection.

Funerals

The Minister pleaded with South Africans to adhere to the disaster management regulations, which stipulate that only 50 people may attend a funeral.

“We have been identifying [funerals] an area of concern. There is a restriction to the number of people who attend funerals. We really want to underline the importance of keeping to a low number of people attending the funerals.

“There are various things that are associated with funerals, which tend to create a challenge and that might expose people to contracting COVID-19.”

Mkhize said social distancing remains an important element to curbing the spread of the pandemic.

Mkhize explained that the nature of funerals, where the bereaved are comforted and a shovel handled by many in the interment process, is an area of concern, as it provides fertile ground for transmission.

“We ask our people to change their approach when they deal with funerals. There are changes in the way that we normally do things,” said the Minister.

COVID-19 testing scaled up

On testing, the Minister said while 108 021 tests were conducted, more still needs to be done.

“In the last of 24 hours, we have performed 7 194 tests, which actually shows that the momentum is growing pretty well.

“We still want to increase our testing. I am satisfied with the level of growth of the numbers but I don’t think we are anywhere close to where we need to be. From our point of view, many more people need to be tested.” said Mkhize.