South Africa’s number of confirmed Covid-19 infections has risen to 642 431 after 1 990 new infections and 82 more deaths were recorded on Wednesday, said Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Of the latest fatalities, 27 are from Gauteng, 22 from the Western Cape, 10 each from KwaZulu-Natal and the North West, eight from the Free State, and five from the Eastern Cape -- bringing the death toll to 15 168.
Speaking to Radio Islam earlier this week, the minister said that he was positive about the slowing rate of infections.
“We can safely say that we’re over the surge. June, July and August were the worst of our months, as predicted by our models. However, we found that it was not as many people as the model had suggested would be infected.”
Mkhize thanked South Africans for following the government’s safety measures it had put in place during the lockdown.
This drop in new cases means that South Africa has moved further down on the list, ranking as the 8th in the world when it comes to the number of COVID-19 cases.
Of course, to prevent a second wave of infections, we should remain cautious by practising social distancing when in public.
Mkhize also expressed gratitude to religious leaders for the role they played in limiting the further spread of the virus, and for the prayers and support they offered to those who were in distress.
He told listeners that masks are here to stay and people should get used to wearing masks as it had made a huge difference in the fight against Covid-19.
“In January, when we didn’t have COVID-19, five people came from China wearing masks in a flight that landed in Cape Town. There was panic in the entire country and today, everyone is wearing a mask and if you’re not wearing a mask, you look abnormal and that is the nature of evolution.
“Social distancing, handwashing, sanitisers and masks are all our new normal, and we must get used to that before we get the vaccine.” Said the minister.
We’re not out of the woods yet as there is still a risk of a second wave.
The hardest-hit provinces at the moment are Gauteng with 213 741 cases, KwaZulu-Natal with 115 372, the Western Cape with 107 624 and Eastern Cape with 87 040 cases in total.
“The total number of tests conducted to date is 3 842 898, with 21 736 new tests conducted since the last report,” Mkhize said.
A total of 569 935 patients have recovered, which translates to a recovery rate of 88.7%.
According to the WHO, there have been a total of 27 486 960 confirmed Covid-19 cases with 894 983 of those cases resulting in death.