151,209 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 2,657

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now 151,209 total cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 6,945 cases from 144,264 cases reported on Monday – while a record 24-hour high of 7,210 cases was recorded over the weekend.

The minister announced 128 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 2,657 casualties, with 73,543 recoveries to date.

A total of 1.63 million tests have been conducted to date, with 33,013 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, Dr Mkhize said.

Globally, since 31 December 2019 and as of 30 June 2020, in excess of 10.4 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, including in excess of 508,000 deaths, and 5.7 million recoveries.

A strain of flu virus spreading in Chinese pigs has shown it can also infect humans, suggesting that another pathogen with pandemic potential waits in the wings behind the coronavirus, Bloomberg reported.

The flu strain that jumped to humans has become predominant among pigs across China since 2016, according to a team of researchers that includes George Gao Fu, head of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The researchers based their findings on surveillance studies conducted in 10 provinces from 2011 through 2018.

New restrictions

Dr Mkhize has provided clarity around South Africa’s current lockdown and the possibility of reintroducing further restrictions.

In a series of tweets published on Tuesday morning (30 June), Mkhize said that government’s National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) has not discussed the possibility of introducing further lockdown restrictions.

However, he noted that the government could still consider location-based lockdowns if necessary.

“There has not been any decision taken (to have another lockdown) and certainly the NCCC does not take lightly a decision of that nature,” he said.

“There may be (a) need in some areas for restrictions, it may not be national but localised. But no such decision has been taken as yet.”

However, Mkhize indicated that some areas which may require a greater response than others.

“One of the challenges with Gauteng is the fact that you have different metropolitan areas, which is one ecosystem. As we move into the future we need to be open-minded as to what our needs are.”

“We could not sustain the lockdown the way it was. We needed people to get back to their jobs and for the economy to be revived. We needed to do that under new circumstances where we use masks, social distance and sanitise our hands.”

Read: Mkhize says ‘localised lockdown’ could be used in South Africa, as coronavirus infections rise faster than expected

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