Thursday, 29 October 2020

Pretoria: Coronavirus continues to spread in South Africa with 2 056 new cases identified on Thursday, while 53 more people succumbed to the deadly virus.

Of the latest deaths, 37 are from the Eastern Cape, five from Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, four from Gauteng and two from Mpumalanga.

According to Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, of these new fatalities, 15 occurred in the past 24 to 48 hours.

This brings the death toll to 19 164, while the total number of cases are sitting at 721 770 since the outbreak.

Also, 649 935 patients have recuperated which translates to a recovery rate of 90%, said Mkhize.

“The cumulative number of tests conducted to date is 4 777 609 with 25 013 new tests conducted since the last report,” the Minister added.

Meanwhile, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said they are seeing several trends developing when zooming in on the cases in the province.

“The increase in the numbers of new cases are primarily driven by young people between the ages of 15 to 25,” he said, adding that there is a rise in the number of positive tests and hospitalisation in the private sector.

According to Winde, the province has also noted a spike in the infection rate in Athlone and in Scottsdene, which they believe is connected to the wastewater systems linked to the Southern and the Western sub-districts.

“This data gives us another level of surveillance which allows us to detect trends and to follow up with targeted testing should it be required. These tools are part of our arsenal, which will help us to detect signs of resurgence or a second wave.”

He said the province continues to use the surveillance systems to identify “infection bushfires”.

“This has allowed us to pinpoint spikes in infections in recent weeks – first in the Southern and Western sub-districts, and now in George on the Garden Route.”

Winde thinks the peak is associated with a “general relaxation” of safety and infection prevention protocols.

However, according to Winde, the strongest defence against a resurgence is behavioural change.

The Western Cape has 4 298 active COVID-19 infections, 4 353 deaths, with 116 852 confirmed cases and 108 201 recoveries.

“I, therefore, call on all our residents to commit to becoming an active part of our recovery deal so that we can move forward safely in the Western Cape,” he pleaded.

Globally, the World Health Organisation has reported 44 351 506 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 1 171 255 deaths to date.