A week in lockdown: SA Covid-19 cases at 1 505

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Friday that the death toll was seven, but clinical tests are still outstanding to determine whether South Africa’s Covid-19 death toll has risen to nine.

Mkhize said the country’s official recorded confirmed cases are at 1 505, with 47 965 tests having been conducted. 

He said the department is still waiting on results to confirm whether two more people in KwaZulu-Natal have succumbed to the disease. 

“The 80-year-old male passed away on April 1st, and the 81-year old died on April 2nd. Both of them don’t have a history of having travelled anywhere. And they were admitted to hospitals in Durban,” Mkhize said. 

With South Africa finishing its first full week of a national lockdown — with regulations that have been seen as extreme measures — Mkhize said interventions were bearing fruit. 

“The numbers that we have seen of people who are being infected are being delayed by some of the impacts of the lockdown. The reduction of numbers of visitors, the closing of ports, also quarantining some who have been to the areas of the epicentre of the pandemic in Western countries has been very important,” he said. 

He said that with increased testing using mobile screening units that will be sent around the country, the number of cases is expected to increase dramatically. 

“Whatever numbers we are seeing now, there is a feeling that … will change when we are going out into the community to test new people,” he said.

For 21 days, South Africans are only allowed out of their homes to buy essential items from food stores and only essential workers are allowed to go to work.The sale of alcohol and cigarettes has been prohibited

Mkhize has, for the past week, crisscrossed the country visiting the four provinces with the highest rates of Covid-19 cases — Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State. 

The government has paid tribute to health workers on the front line who are dealing with the increased number of people seeking medical treatment as a result of the disease. 

Mkhize said there was no word yet on when foreign medical personnel would arrive to assist local doctors and nurses.  

“The president has already been in consultation with various presidents; we are looking at Cuba and China. But President [Cyril] Ramaphosa is looking at additional support of various other countries, looking for whatever is possible,” he said. 

On whether the lockdown will end on April 16, or will be extended, he said too much data and information is outstanding to make a call when life in South Africa will return to relative normality. 

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit is a Reporter, Journalist, and Broadcaster.

Coalition politics and law: The fight over Tshwane

With coalition politics on the rise, particularly in local government, this kind of court case is likely to become more common

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Press Releases

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday