311,049 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 4,453

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now 311,049 total cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 12,757 cases from the 298,292 cases reported on Tuesday.

The minister announced 107 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 4,453 casualties, and follows a high of 174 casualties on Monday, while he pointed to 160,693 recoveries to date.

A total of 2.27 million tests have been conducted, with 45,389 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, Dr Mkhize said.

Since 31 December 2019 and as of 15 July 2020, more than 13.5 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, including approximately 582,000 deaths, and around 7.9 million recoveries.

“Positive news is coming” on initial trials of the Covid-19 vaccine that the University of Oxford is developing with AstraZeneca Plc, ITV’s Robert Peston said in a tweet, without specifying how he obtained the information, Bloomberg reported.

“The vaccine is generating the kind of antibody and T-cell (killer cell) response that the researchers would hope to see,” Peston wrote, adding that details will be released soon in medical journal The Lancet.

Oxford’s vaccine trial – led by Sarah Gilbert, who is profiled this week in Bloomberg Businessweek – is already undergoing phase III testing in Brazil.

The trial shot is seen as being months ahead of other key candidates.

Job losses

A team of South African researchers have published the National Income Dynamics Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) which looks at the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and countrywide lockdown.

The study surveyed 7,000 South Africans and can be considered the most nationally representative survey that currently exists, the researchers said.

The key finding was that approximately three million people lost their jobs over the lockdown period, representing an 18% decline in employment from 17 million people employed in February, to 14 million people employed in April 2020.

Accounting for a 95% confidence interval, the decline in the number of people employed from February to April was likely between 2.5 million and 3.6 million, the researchers said.

They stressed however, that it can be difficult to define ’employment’ in the current environment due to the number of furloughed workers and temporary layoffs.

Using income as a definition of employment, the group found that the proportion of adults who earned an income in February declined by 33% which is made up of a roughly equal share of those who lost their job, and those who were furloughed.

The report revealed a 40% decline in ‘active employment’ also split equally between those who were laid off, and those who were either furloughed or on paid leave.

Job losses were disproportionately concentrated among the already disadvantaged groups in the labour market.

Read: Expect random stop searches and other clampdowns to hit South Africa: police minister

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