SA's confirmed Covid-19 infections now at 1 505, death toll at 7
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Johannesburg – Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced that the confirmed coronavirus Covid-19 cases in South Africa have increased to 1505, an increase of 43 from 1 462 on Thursday.
The confirmed death tally now sits at seven deaths, after two people in their 80s died in KwaZulu-Natal, the minister announced during a press briefing at the Khayelitsha Hospital in Cape Town.
"We would like to convey our condolences to the families and friends of these individuals. We would also like to thank the health workers who are working tirelessly every day," he said.
The minister has this week confirmed coronavirus cases in at least five townships around the country. The cases were in Khayelitsha (Cape Town), Alexandra (Johannesburg) and three Durban townships, uMlazi, KwaMashu and eMaoti.
In uMlazi, a 46-year-old teacher became the first death in a township. The minister said the teacher had underlying history of asthma and hypertension.
“I still want to caution that, until we have a clear sense of what is happening in our densely populated areas, in particular townships, we should not be lulled into complacency but continue to venture forth in full combat by proactively conducting wall to wall testing and finding all Covid-19 affected people in the country,” said Mkhize.
Mkhize also announced this week that government would be increasing mass screening and testing efforts after 67 equipped mobile minivans were unveiled in Johannesburg. The minivans would be sent to all parts of the country where they would strengthen government’s efforts to curb the spread of the virus and isolating those who were found to be positive.
Meanwhile, Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma announced amended regulations to the state of disaster. She said government - at the request of the Health Department - would now be using cellphone number tracking technology to determine potential coronavirus contacts for people who had tested positive for the virus.
Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said the government would not be using the information to spy on citizens, but only to assist the health department in tracing coronavirus contacts.
Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said a retired judge would be appointed to ensure that the data was only used for Covid-10 purposes and that the government did not infringe on the individual rights to privacy of citizens.