168,061 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 2,844

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now 168,061 total cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 8,728 cases from 159,333 cases reported on Tuesday, and a new 24-hour high for the country.

The minister announced 95 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 2,844 casualties, and a mortality rate of 1.7%, with 81,999 recoveries to date.

A total of 1.7 million tests have been conducted, with 39,168 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, Dr Mkhize said.

Globally, since 31 December 2019 and as of 02 July 2020, in excess of 10.85 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, with 520,000 deaths, with 6.0 million recoveries.

People appear to be bunkering cash amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to a study that seeks to debunk the notion that the pandemic was hastening the demise of paper money due to e-commerce or fears of infection, Bloomberg reported.

Anecdotal evidence across advanced economies suggests a decisive move away from cash, with lockdowns boosting online sales and more stores only accepting card payments.

But data cited by former Bank of England policy maker Charles Goodhart and co-author Jonathan Ashworth show a marked increase of bills in circulation in the US, Canada, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Australia, Brazil and Russia.

While some analysts argue that going completely cashless would help the global economy become more efficient, an abrupt end would hurt people with no access to the banking system. It would also pose a challenge to small businesses that find the costs of going digital too expensive.

Gauteng lockdown warning

Gauteng premier David Makhura says that the ‘Covid-19 storm’ has arrived in the province which could necessitate the reintroduction of stricter lockdown rules.

Speaking in a media briefing on Thursday (2 July), Makhura said that the province saw an exponential rise in the number of coronavirus cases in June, as well as a significant increase in fatalities.

And, he warned that July will be ‘even more difficult’.

“We don’t want to do something for dramatic purposes without achieving results. But it is quite clear that we are going to have to do something extraordinary given where we are now.

“This may mean asking the national command council to introduce some of the restrictions we had in the earlier phases (of the lockdown).”

Makhura said that Gauteng now has the largest number of active cases at more than 3,000 new cases daily. This means that the pandemic is running ‘slightly ahead’ of the projected models.

This could have implications for the peak of the virus which may now arrive in August instead of September, he said.

Read: These are the new ‘harder’ lockdown restrictions Gauteng is looking at

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