South Africa Records 14 Covid-19 Deaths And 831 New Cases On Saturday.
17 May 2020
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Zweli Mkhize

Own Correspondent|As of Saturday, the total number of confirmed coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in South Africa is 14 355 with 831 new cases identified in the past 24-hour cycle of testing, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Saturday evening.

“Regrettably, we report a further 14 Covid-19-related deaths – this brings the total national deaths to 261. We wish to express our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the healthcare workers who cared for the deceased. The total number of recoveries to date is 6 478,” he said in a statement.

The provincial breakdown of cases was as follows:

  • Eastern Cape – 1 812 (12.6%)
  • Free State – 153 (1.1%)
  • Gauteng – 2 262 (15.8%)
  • KwaZulu-Natal – 1 498 (10.4%)
  • Limpopo – 59 (0.4%)
  • Mpumalanga – 68 (0.5%)
  • North West – 64 (0.4%)
  • Northern Cape – 35 (0.2%)
  • Western Cape – 8 404 (58.5%)
  • Total – 14 355

The Eastern Cape and Western Cape combined comprised 91% of the new 831 cases, Mkhize said.

A total of 439 559 tests had been conducted with 18 004 done in the past 24-hour cycle.‌

The provincial breakdown of reported deaths and recoveries were as follows:

  • Eastern Cape – 32 deaths and 746 recoveries
  • Free State – 6 deaths and 108 recoveries
  • Gauteng – 25 deaths and 1 583 recoveries
  • KwaZulu-Natal – 45 deaths and 806 recoveries
  • Limpopo – 3 deaths and 37 recoveries
  • Mpumalanga – 0 deaths and 49 recoveries
  • North West – 1 death and 28 recoveries
  • Northern Cape – 0 deaths and 24 recoveries
  • Western Cape – 149 deaths and 3 097 recoveries
  • Total – 261 deaths and 6 478 recoveries

“I am sure many South Africans are eagerly looking forward to a return to normality, albeit a ‘new normal’,” Mkhize said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your tenacity, stoicism, and true partnership with government. Together we succeeded in flattening the curve, which facilitated ramping up and cohesion of our health care system as well as preparation of our spaces as we resume our economic and social development.

“A few examples is that we have screened 10 737 341 citizens, we now have 376 sites identified for quarantine nationally with 30 823 quarantine beds. Significantly, our mortality rate, 1.8%, remains well below the global average which is currently 6.6%, and our recovery rate is 42.4%, above the global average of 38%,” he said.

The process of easing lockdown regulations was a highly consultative one where various stakeholder inputs were taken into account to influence implementation. Government remained guided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations for easing lockdown restrictions, which were:

  1. Strong surveillance, cases are declining, and transmission is controlled.
  2. Health systems capacity is in place to detect, isolate, test, and treat every case and trace every contact.
  3. That outbreak risks are minimised, especially in settings like facilities and nursing homes.
  4. That preventive measures are in place in workplaces, schools, and other places that are essential for people to go.
  1. That importation of cases can be managed.
  2. That communities are fully educated, engaged, and empowered to adjust to the new norm.

Mkhize ended his statement by quoting WHO director general Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus as having said: “The risk of returning to lockdown remains very real if countries do not manage the transition extremely carefully and in a phased approach.”

Source: Minister Mkhize’s Official Statement.