452,529 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 7,067

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now a total of 452,529 cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 7,096 cases from the 445,433 infections reported on Sunday.

The data shows that there are 298 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 7,067 casualties.

Dr Mkhize pointed to 274,925 recoveries to date.

A total of 2.82 million tests have been conducted, with 28,433 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, the minister said.

The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 16.5 million people and killed more than 653,000 worldwide since late January, when it was first reported.

Data shows more than 10 million recoveries.

The UK confirmed its first case of a pet cat testing positive for coronavirus, after the animal apparently caught the disease from its owners, Bloomberg reported.

There is no evidence pets can pass the virus on to humans, and the case should not be cause for alarm, officials said.

No details of the location of the cat were given, but both the animal and its owners have fully recovered.

New sources of economic growth

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic has placed more impetus on South Africa’s plans to pursue new sources of growth within a fundamentally different context.

“Many of the areas we had identified before remain relevant and urgent, such as a growing small and medium enterprise sector, and an agricultural sector that delivers food security.

“Some sectors have taken on a new significance. We should, for example, use this opportunity to build a greener economy, with our entrepreneurs entering new fields such as hybrid cars, fuel cells, battery storage and waste beneficiation,” said the president in his weekly newsletter to the nation.

With an unemployment rate of 30%, which the president said will soon increase, South Africa must collectively work towards building an inclusive economy, based on a level playing field.

President Ramaphosa said he was confident that plans put in place prior to the pandemic, and those introduced to keep business buoyant in these turbulent times, will enable the reconstruction of the economy. However, this will require buy-in outside of government, and an undeterred commitment to action.

Saving jobs

In the coming weeks, the president said government will work with its social partners to finalise an economic recovery programme, which brings together the best of all the various proposals.

President Ramaphosa emphasised that the most important part of the programme must be the protection and the creation of jobs.

He noted that analysts have estimated the pandemic will cost the country millions of jobs.

The president said job preservation efforts, such as those through the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and tax measures, aim to prevent job losses in the private sector.

However, he said, if South Africa is going to recover from the worst effects of the pandemic, well-crafted, public employment schemes must be set up.

“Creating jobs for people that add value to their communities through maintenance, care work and other services, keeps people engaged in productive activity. It helps them to retain and develop skills.

“It gives many young people a chance to climb the first rung in the job market ladder. Such jobs complement employment created by businesses, as they start to recover and private investment returns.”

The president is optimistic that as recovery takes hold and the world gradually adjusts to a global economy marked by Covid-19, economic activity is expected to pick up.

“By then, our initiatives to reform and improve the business environment will establish a firm platform for industries with high potential to flourish,” president Ramaphosa said.

Since the onset of the pandemic in South Africa, President Ramaphosa said government’s strategy has been to provide whatever support it can, within the country’s constrained resources, to protect businesses and preserve jobs.

“We have all the ingredients for an economic recovery; now let us work together to make it happen,” the president said.

Read: 50 major projects planned for South Africa – including a new mega city and space hub

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