SA Covid-19 death toll climbs to 24
There are now 24 confirmed deaths linked to Covid-19 in SA, half of them in KwaZulu-Natal.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize made the announcement in Durban on Friday afternoon. He also announced that there were now 2,003 confirmed Covid-19 cases across SA.
“As of today, the total number of tests conducted is 73,028. The number of confirmed positive cases is 2,003. Total number of deaths has risen to 24,” he said.
Of the more than 2,000 cases, most were in Gauteng (801, with three deaths), followed by Western Cape (451, with 6 deaths), KwaZulu-Natal (412, with 12 deaths) and Free State (94, with three deaths). Other provinces affected were the Eastern Cape (68 cases), Limpopo (24 cases), Mpumalanga (20 cases), North West (18 cases) and Northern Cape (15 cases).
Ten cases were unallocated. Mkhize said the figures were as of midnight on Thursday night, “so there will always be a bit of a lag”.
Mkhize said there was evidence that the decision to go into lockdown early — and to extend it by a further two weeks — was a good one. Showing figures, he said that there was a possibility that SA can “break away” from the global trend because SA acted early.
“Our advisers are saying this is an early indication the lockdown has worked,” he said, pointing out that this was particularly the case for “imported infections”. “I believe that it has really put our country in a much better position to fight Covid-19. It is possible for SA to buck the trend that other countries are taking.
“We did say before that while we see some very promising elements in the response, it is still too early. If there’s any turn in the events in the outbreak we might not have another warning. We are still traversing through a storm that is gathering, and the storm is not over. Therefore we must know we can’t be complacent.
“When President Cyril Ramaphosa says 'lockdown', we need to know there's an impact of that. “I'm not saying we are there. I'm saying, 'Let's dream, as South Africans.' If we can unite, if we can follow the leadership that has been given, we have a chance of moving from the fast spreaders to the slow spreaders,” Mkhize said.