South Africa sees decline in COVID-19 infections
575 patients died from virus pushing toll to 40, 076, says health minister
South Africa’s health minister said Friday the country began observing a decline in daily COVID-19 infections but it remains as the most affected country on the continent.
Zweli Mkhize said in the past week officials saw a decline in transmission as evidenced by reduced cases, a steadily decreasing positivity rate of 19% Friday from a high of 36% during the peak of the second wave of the pandemic last month.
South Africa is currently battling that second wave and was experiencing between 15,000 - 17,000 new cases during its peak but cases have now reduced to between 9,000 - 11,000.
“We are hoping that this decline in numbers is going to bring the much required reprieve to our overwhelmed health facilities, both in the public and private sector,” Mkhize said, and added that the government will closely monitor statistics to inform the process of recommending a review of some of the stringent restrictions currently in place.
Despite declining infections, South Africa registered 11,761 new cases and 575 more deaths.
According to Mkhize, 129 of the deceased were from Eastern Cape Province; 37 perished from Free State; 166 in Gautengwhich, which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria; Kwa-Zulu Natal had 133, Mpumalanga with 18, Northern Cape had 15 and Western Cape 77.
The number of deaths is now 40,076 and cases stand at 1,392,568 with 1,201,284 patients recovering which represents a recovery rate of 86%.
The top doctor continued to caution the nation that the transmission rate is still very high and people need to ensure that it is reduced to an acceptable level before restrictions can be eased.
“It is therefore imperative that we do not grow fatigued and continue to focus on the things we know provide protection- such as strict wearing of masks, social distancing and regular sanitization of hands and surfaces,” he said.