The Department of Health on Tuesday (August 4) said 345 more people have died of COVID-19-related illnesses, among them two children.

Of the additional deaths, 116 are from Gauteng, 97 from the Western Cape, 89 from KwaZulu-Natal and 43 from the Eastern Cape, bringing the tally to 8 884.

The KwaZulu-Natal Health Department said two children died from COVID-19, a three-month-old baby girl and a four-year-old boy.

The province explained that 89 deaths did not occur in the past 24 hours. “However, due to late reporting and a high number of patients dying as persons under investigation (PUIs), there is a delay in reporting them,” the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department said.

Meanwhile, with 4 456 new identified COVID-19 infections, the country now has 521 318 cases to date.

Provincial breakdown

The hardest-hit provinces include Gauteng with 183 090 cases, Western Cape 97 261, KwaZulu-Natal 85 986 and Eastern Cape 79 844.

The Free State has had 24 333 infections since the outbreak, North West 20 270, Mpumalanga 15 716, Limpopo 9 389 and Northern Cape 5 379.

Fifty are still unallocated. 

“The number of recoveries currently stands at 363 751 which translates to a recovery rate of 69.8%,” the Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, said.

In addition, the total number of tests conducted to date is 3 078 202 of which 19 507 were done since the last report.

Mzansi is not out of the woods yet

Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, says while South Africa is making progress in its fight against the Coronavirus, it is still too early to claim the victory of a decline.

“There were reports that the hospitals were full and we went around confirmed that it is admission areas that were filling up. The field hospital beds have never been full and even today we have not filled Nasrec. However the trends are now decreasing but we are not out of the woods yet,” said Mkhize.

The Minister was speaking during a virtual briefing on Wednesday where he provided an update on the country’s efforts to fight the Coronavirus.

To determine if the country is indeed on the brink of decline, the Minister said key indicators such as hospital admissions, hospital capacity and the mortality rate must be taken into account.

Mkhize said despite the surge, the country has not breached hospital capacity; has a low mortality rate and has seen reduced hospital admissions and patients under investigation presenting in health facilities.

WHO surge team en-route to Mzansi

The first team of experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO), coming to assist South Africa in its fight against Coronavirus, is set to arrive in the country on Wednesday, August 5.

A total of 43 senior experts from across the globe, including renowned specialists Dr David Heymann (a seasoned infectious disease epidemiologist and public health expert) and Dr Mike Ryan, are among the team that will assist the country to refine its efforts against the pandemic.

“Dr Mike Ryan will lead the team from Geneva and will… provide us with constant advice while analysing our strategies, including the decisions we have taken as the Department of Health in our COVID-19 response,” said Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize.

According to the WHO, there are over 18 142 718 cases worldwide and 691 013 deaths.

“With over 18 million cases reported, and new cases rising by around 250 000 each day, now is not the time to be complacent,” WHO said.

“As some economies and societies open up, WHO continues to urge the public to remain vigilant and take precautions to avoid getting COVID-19; while urging countries to increase testing and contact tracing to ensure no cases are missed and ensure appropriate treatment is available.”

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