8,232 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 161


Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now 8,232 positive Covid-19 cases in South Africa.

This is up by 424 from the 7,808 Covid-19 cases announced on Wednesday.

Dr Mkhize said in a statement on Thursday (7 May), that the total number of deaths have increased by eight, to 161. A total of 292,153 tests have been conducted while the recoveries have now increased to 3,153.

In his statement, Mkhize also drew specific attention to the Western Cape and the province’s growing number of cases.

“In the Western Cape, we are seeing cluster outbreaks, or hotspots. We have to find ways of going into these hotspots. We will be seeing what we can do additionally in the Western Cape (to help).”

Globally, coronavirus infections closed in on 3.85 million cases, while deaths reached 265,873, with more than 1.31 million recoveries.

Bloomberg reported that Moderna surged 13% after the company said its experimental vaccine would be in late-stage studies by early summer, while Japan on Thursday approved the antiviral drug remdesivir for use against the novel coronavirus, three days after receiving an application from Gilead Sciences Inc.

The rate of reactivation in China meanwhile, varied among different places, with some regions showing less than 1% of such cases among recovered patients, Wang Guiqiang, director of department of infection at the Peking University First Hospital.

Wang disclosed the figures during a press conference held by China’s National Health Commission on Thursday, Bloomberg reported.

Fear of re-infection in recovered patients is growing in China, where the virus first emerged last December. There’s little understanding of why this happens, although some believe that the problem may lie in inconsistencies in test results.

Schools

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) on Thursday warned against the premature re-opening of schools.

This comes after the department became aware that some independent (or private) and public schools were already preparing to reopen much earlier, and even receive learners ahead of the schedule announcement by minister Angie Motshekga.

In some schools, teachers have already been reporting for duty and parents meetings have been held where plans were announced to have learners back in school in May.

“The premature re-opening of schools is not permitted as the department is still finalising Covid-19 school compliance protocols. Uniform standards will be applicable in schools as part of the measures put in place to protect learners and teachers, reduce infection and save the academic year,” said the DBE in a statement.

Regulations were published on 29 April 2020 in terms of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002) which listed education services under Alert Level 4 Table 1. Q. as permitted on a date and schedule yet to be announced, to direct when schools may reopen.

Until such date and the schedule are determined, all schools, including independent schools, must remain closed.

Minister Angie Motshekga has already indicated how she intends to have schools reopened and until a final decision is made, no school may proceed to open and receive learners.

Motshekga announced that office based workers would gradually return to work from 4 May, School Management Teams to go back on 11 May and teachers on 18 May 2020.

The proposed date for the gradual return of learners is 1 June 2020.

“I therefore urge schools to familiarise themselves with all the regulations and directives to ensure compliance. In the meantime, schools must consult with the Department of Health and Department of Employment and Labour, in anticipation of the determination by the Minister. I am emphasising that until this determination is made schools must remain closed,” DBE director general Hubert Mathanzima Mweli said.

Next week, Motshekga will return to the National Coronavirus Command Council to present an enhanced recovery plan based on inputs and feedback received thus far.


Read: The World Health Organisation on the coronavirus peak, ending lockdown, and the smoking ban in South Africa





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