Thursday, 23 April 2020

Pretoria: South Africa has recorded 318 new COVID-19 cases, with the total number of confirmed cases at 3 953 as of Thursday; 23 April 2020.

The country has also reported 10 new deaths – with the  Western Cape recording six deaths, KwaZulu-Natal two deaths and Gauteng and the Eastern Cape have each recorded one death. This brings the number of total deaths related to COVID-19 to 75.

“We convey our condolences to the families of the deceased and thank our health workers who treated the deceased patients,” the Minister said.

As of Thursday, the Western Cape surpassed Gauteng’s confirmed cases and now has the highest number of COVID-19 positive cases in the country.

“A further analysis is being done as we are observing outbreak clusters in the Western Cape. This means that a large number of people who operate and interact in the same area (eg. factories, shopping centres) are testing positive,” Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize said.

The breakdown of total COVID-19 cases is as follows: Western Cape 1 279; Gauteng 1 252; KwaZulu-Natal 807; Free State 106; Limpopo 27; Eastern Cape 417; North West 25; Northern Cape 16 and Mpumalanga 23.

The Minister expressed concern at the steady increase of positive cases.

“While this concerns us, we are also pleased that the intensified community screening and testing campaign is assisting in finding more COVID-19 positive patients,” Mkhize said.

A total of 143 570 tests have been conducted at public and private institutions.

“This allows us to take the necessary actions such as isolation, quarantine or hospitalisation if required. The epidemiologists also continue to analyse these trends in order for the country to better understand the impact of the outbreak as it unfolds,” the Minister said,

No new cases were recorded in the Northern Cape, Limpopo and Free State.

“Furthermore, we have seen the number of these provinces confirmed cases not increasing. This also illustrates the effectiveness of their positive patients’ treatment and management,” the Minister said.

He has commended all the health workers and tracers for their hard work in different parts of the country.

“We also thank members of the community for heeding government’s call to participate in the mass screening and testing. This is well reflected in the increasing numbers of people who have been screened to date, which is 3 633 037. Of the individuals screened, 24 174 have been referred for testing,” the Minister said.

SA’s response to COVID-19

The Director General of the World Health Organisation held an information sharing session with Health Ministers from across the globe on Thursday.

South Africa was given an opportunity to share its experiences in its management and response to COVID-19.

“We appreciate the leadership provided by His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa in fighting this COVID-19 pandemic. The country’s response thus far has even laid an opportunity for lessons to be learnt by other countries. Whilst we are pleased with this, we remain fully aware that we still have a long way ahead of us and face a tough battle to fight together as a country,” the Minister said.

He said the WHO’s guidance for us as a country and the rest of the world remains invaluable.