Despite 14 new coronavirus deaths, SA's mortality rate well below global average

Health minister Zweli Mkhize. File image
Health minister Zweli Mkhize. File image
Image: Rodger Bosch

Another 14 South Africans have died of Covid-19, bringing the national death toll to 261, health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Saturday night.

Western Cape has 149 fatalities, KwaZulu Natal 45 and the Eastern Cape 32, with Gauteng recording one new fatality bringing the provincial total up to 25.

Mkhize said SA's mortality rate, 1.8%, remains well below the global average which is currently 6.6%.

In addition, he said, the country's recovery rate is 42.4%, above the global average of 38%. A total of 6,478 patients in SA have recovered from Covid-19.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country is 14,355 with 831 new cases identified in the last 24-hour cycle of testing.

The Eastern Cape and Western Cape combined comprise 91% of the day's new cases, said the minister.

The Western Cape's 8,404 cases comprise 58,5% of the national total, while the Eastern Cape has 1,812 confirmed cases.

The next most affected provinces are Gauteng with 2,262 cases and KwaZulu-Natal with 1,498.

The other provinces' case numbers are: Free State 153; Mpumalanga 68; North West 64; Limpopo 59 and Northern Cape 35.

Testing has ramped up substantially. So far, 439,559 tests have been conducted with 18,004 done in the last 24-hour cycle.

Commenting on the possible easing of lockdown restrictions, the minister said: "I am sure many South Africans are eagerly looking forward to a return to normality, albeit a 'new normal'.

"I would 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."

Mkhize said the country had screened over 10-million people [10,737,341], and had identified 376 sites for quarantine nationally with 30,823 quarantine beds.

"The process of easing lockdown regulations is a highly consultative one where various stakeholder inputs are taken into account to influence implementation."

He said decisions were guided by World Health Organization recommendations for easing lockdown restrictions, which are:

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

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