Health Minister Zweli Mkhize urged all 58 million residents to adjust their behavior and curb the spread of covid-19 in South Africa.
In a briefing to parliament on Wednesday, he warned that the covid-19 “storm” had arrived. The Department of Health is working on a surge strategy that can steer the country through a peak in infections.
Government data shows Western Cape has the highest number of cases followed by Gauteng, the richest and most dense province. Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria are in Gauteng.
Testing and cases
The country has exceeded two million tests revealing 200,000 cases of infection - almost half of Africa’s caseload. South Africa has an advanced healthcare infrastructure and has conducted extensive community testing averaging 30,000 tests per day.
Thus far, Africa has tested 5.7 million of it's 1.3 billion people. This falls way short and fails to give an accurate impression of what the actual numbers are.
Reports of a million graves dug in Gauteng
Gauteng is one of the most affected provinces. 6 members of their Health War Room tested positive for COVID-19, including the Head of Department, Prof Mkhululi Lukhele.
Reports emerged that the Gauteng Health Department has dug over a million gravesites as they anticipate the worst.
However, in a Twitter statement addressed to news editors and reporters, the Health Department clarified their position.
The gravesides visited by health official Dr. Bandile Masuku in Tshwane were 24,000 and the million number referred to the collective capacity all municipalities can handle.
Scientific modeling shows that South Africa cannot suffer that many deaths. Projections set the 2020 estimates 40,000 - 80,000 collectively. Nevertheless, the authorities are preparing for all worst-case scenarios.
Phased ease in restrictions
South Africa was on level 5 from 26 March to the end of April. May held at level 4 as restrictions gradually eased. Level 3 began on June 1st and remains in effect. From the time the first case occurred, the country implemented a decisive raft of measures that have saved countless lives.
A powerful lockdown accompanied by community screening saved medical institutions from overcapacity. Unfortunately, the recent uptick in cases provides a worrying trend.
Signs of normalcy are back as students from grades six to eleven are can return to school after a four-month interruption of study. All students must present a consent letter signed by their parents to the premises.
South African queen dies
A prominent South African queen dies of covid-19. Queen Noloyiso was wife to the late King Maxhobha Sandile who succumbed to a short illness. She died aged 56, after succumbing to covid-19 complications. Responding to the news, president Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his condolences on the passing of the AmaRharhabe queen.
John Nkengasong, Head of Africa CDC reported a 24% rise in African cases last week. Addressing a virtual news conference in Addis Ababa, he described the pandemic as “gaining full momentum.” South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Algeria, and Nigeria account for 71% of the continent’s infections.
The virus that knows no bounds has claimed the lives of prime ministers, former presidents, lawmakers, sportsmen, and entertainment legends.
No age group is spared either as the casualties range from a 6-year-old Kenyan girl to older patients. While some cases have resulted in grief and sorrow among the loved ones, others have united entire nations in mourning.
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