By Sihle Mlambo
South Africa now has 4 361 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 7 more virus-related deaths, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed on Saturday.
This is an increase of 141 new infections from Friday.
Friday saw an increase of 267 new cases, whereas Thursday had 318 new infections, the highest single jump since the virus entered South Africa’s shores in March.
The seven new fatalities are as follows: 4 from the Eastern Cape, 2 from the Western Cape and one from Limpopo.
The Western Cape has the highest number of confirmed cases and the most deaths in the country.
The country has also recorded more than 1400 recoveries, with more than 800 recoveries being recorded in Gauteng and about 200 each between the Western Cape and KZN.
The minister said that the total number of tests conducted to date was 161 004, of which 8 614 were done in the last 24 hours. These figures include the private and public health sector.
CONFIRMED CASES BY PROVINCE:
WESTERN CAPE – 1514
GAUTENG – 1304
KWAZULU – NATAL – 847
EASTERN CAPE – 488
FREE STATE – 111
LIMPOPO – 30
NORTH WEST – 28
MPUMALANGA – 23
NORTHERN CAPE – 16
UNALLOCATED – 0
Mkhize reminded South Africans that while the country is coming to grips with the coronavirus, it could not afford to forget that government had undertaken to eradicate malaria by 2023, and that many of the government’s strategies implemented against the virus were drawn from its anti-malaria policies.
World Malaria Day is marked annually on April 25.
“The World Health Organisation has made an all important call to minimize disruptions to malaria prevention and treatment services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Failure to do this could undo the strides that have already been achieved and lead to doubling of malaria cases this year as compared to 2018, according to WHO modeling analysis,” Mkhize said.
“Indeed many of the policies applied for Covid-19 were lessons drawn from the campaign to eliminate malaria by 2023: community screening and testing; the rollout of insecticide treated nets and indoor residual spraying at community levels; multisectoral and multinational co-operation for Malaria prevention and treatment tools are all strategies that have been adopted and modified for the accelerated and concerted global effort against Covid-19.”
South Africa is currently on Day 30 of its Level 5 lockdown which will come to an end at the end of April. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday night that the lockdown would be eased to Level 4 from May 1, which would allow more businesses to return to work.
The sale of cigarettes would also be allowed from next Friday.
Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel announced on Saturday that take-away hot foods would also be allowed to be sold from Friday, but only for delivery.
Dlamini-Zuma said people must sanitise product packaging when goods were delivered to them.
“When you receive the package, sanitise the package and your hands. This means if we are getting more things delivered, we have to take extra precautions.
“We must make sure we do take those precautions, which you must take when you go shopping as well,” she said.
She also warned that the country could find itself back on Level 5 lockdown if people did not behave responsibly.
“If we do not stick to the public health conditions and the virus starts speeding up, the government will have no option but to move back swiftly to Level 5. If we stick to all the things that need to be done, we can hold on to Level 4 and eventually Level 3,” said the minister.
Dlamini-Zuma said when Level 4 lockdown is implemented next Friday, the entire country will be on that level. At a later stage, she said, it was possible that other provinces could be on different lockdown levels.
She said if numbers began to decline or stabilise, the National Coronavirus Command Council could lower the lockdown to Level 3.
“It’s all in our hands South Africans, we must make that choice ourselves,” she said.
Inter-provincial travel is still not allowed, but people traveling to funerals, returning to work or school, will be allowed to travel.
“Either than that, you still remain where you are,” said NDZ. IOL