The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa is 611 450 after 1 677 new cases were identified as of Monday (August 24), while the death toll is 13 159.

Of the 100 additional fatalities recorded, 36 were in Mpumalanga, 19 in the Western Cape, 14 in KwaZulu-Natal, 12 in Gauteng, 11 in the Eastern Cape and eight in Limpopo.

According to Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, the number of those who have recovered stands at 516 494, which translates to a recovery rate of 84%.

The total number of tests conducted to date is 3 564 065, with 10 640 done since the last report.

Gauteng remains the epicentre with 206 525 cases, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 110 102, Western Cape 104 667 and Eastern Cape 85 240.

The Free State has 35 367 cases, North West 24 371, Mpumalanga 23 163, Limpopo 12 643 and Northern Cape 9 322.

Fifty remain unknown.

Worldwide, there have been 23 311 719 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 806 410 deaths reported to the World Health Organisation.

Mkhize salutes doctors

Engaging doctors and health professionals on Monday, the Minister thanked them for the role they are playing in the face of the deadly pandemic.

“Today is about you, the frontline healthcare workers. The ones in the trenches who hold the human face and render the human touch to all the policies, regulations, science and academic research that has flooded the health service delivery space, as we were confronted with a virus for which we had no precedent and no formula.

“It is the doctor that must examine, test, probe, reassess, worry and dedicate his abilities towards the management of life.”

The Minister said he appreciated the uncertainly under which the doctors are working and the frustrations they face.

“The fear of knowing every time that the next patient could be the one that infects you and not knowing how your own body will respond to the virus.”

Mkhize saluted them for the sheer tenacity and resilience they have portrayed, which has positioned leaders in the global COVID-19 response.

“This battle has not been without its casualties. Over 27 000 of our colleagues have become infected with the virus and tragically it has robbed us of 240 of our talented healthcare workers. We mourn every soul lost to this enemy.”

The Minister assured the healthcare workers that government will continue to engage with structures representing them, as they seek to create a new culture of mutual understanding and respect.

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