Health Minister Zweli Mkhize visiting the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Pretoria. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize visiting the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Pretoria. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Covid-19 cases in SA surge past 300 000 mark, with a further 107 deaths

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Jul 15, 2020

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Cape Town – South Africa surged past the 300 000 mark today to reach a cumulative total of 311 049 confirmed Covid-19 cases, said Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

A total of 12 757 new infections were reported and a further 107 Covid-19-related deaths – four from KwaZulu-Natal, 12 from North West, 12 from the Eastern Cape, 38 from the Western Cape and 41 from Gauteng. This brings the total number of Covid-19-related deaths to 4 453, Mkhize said in a statement.

The death toll in Gauteng (767), which has the highest number of infections at 112 714, has exceeded that of the Eastern Cape (738), after being tied in second place at 726 yesterday.

The number of recoveries is 160 693, which translates to a recovery rate of 51.7%. The total number of tests conducted to date is 2 278 127, with 45 389 new tests conducted.

Data supplied by Department of Health

On Tuesday, SA overtook the UK in terms of cumulative confirmed Covid-19 cases, with a reported 298 292 cases, which means it is now 8th in the world in terms of the most cases recorded over time.

Coronavirus cases in South Africa are growing at a higher rate than any other country in the world when compared by infections per 100 000 people. However, while the global death toll continues to rise, SA's Covid-19 mortality rate continues to be among the lowest in the world.

A lower testing rate and high growth rate, though, indicates SA could have a high number of cases going undetected until patients arrive at hospitals seeking care.

It emerged today that scientists advised the government to preferably impose stricter measures to curb alcohol abuse – rather than an outright ban – to help curb infections.

This was stated in Parliament on Wednesday when the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) presented a report used to brief Mkhize's advisory committee.

Dr Charles Parry, who is part of the SAMRC unit focusing on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, said: “Strategically, we did push (the advisory committee) that it might be useful to consider adopting the lesser approach of this basket of intervention initially, and seeing how it goes for a few weeks before going ahead with the ban, if required, to prevent a push-back from the public and the liquor industry and associated businesses.

“It might also make it easier to defend legal challenges because then the government could say they initiated less intrusive strategies first."

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