Over 500 new Covid-19 cases and eight more deaths
SA has recorded 525 new cases of Covid-19, with another eight deaths — bringing to 186 the total number of people who have died from the disease, the health ministry announced on Saturday.
It said there were seven more deaths in the Western Cape and one in KwaZulu-Natal. One of the victims in the Western Cape was a nurse — the second nurse in the province to succumb to the virus.
The Eastern Cape now has more than 1,000 Covid-19 cases, accounting for 89 of the new cases reported since Friday. The total number of Covid-19 cases in SA now stands at 9,420.
The Western Cape, the epicentre of the outbreak in SA, recorded 312 new cases, Gauteng 60 and KwaZulu-Natal 54 new cases. The Free State, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape each reported one new case, while Limpopo reported seven new cases. There were no new cases in North West.
There have been 3,983 recoveries.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize said that a total of 324, 079 Covid-19 tests had been conducted, of which 16 327 were new tests.
The provincial breakdown of cases on Saturday was provided as:
- Western Cape — 4,809;
- Gauteng — 1,910;
- KwaZulu-Natal — 1, 308;
- Eastern Cape — 1,078;
- Free State — 134;
- Mpumalanga — 61;
- Limpopo — 51;
- North West — 41; and
- Northern Cape — 28.
Mkhize announced on Saturday that everyone in the Western Cape who tests positive for Covid-19 will be confined to hospital if doctors are not satisfied they can self-isolate properly.
Until now, asymptomatic patients have been asked to self-isolate, but Mkhize said that was no longer good enough as the Western Cape accounted for half of all Covid-19 cases nationally.
If they were unable to prove they can self-isolate to the satisfaction of clinicians, “we are going to put them in field hospitals,” he said.
“People will be kept in hospital not because they need treatment but until they are past the point where they are infectious.”
One of the field hospitals, with 857 beds, is due to open in June at Cape Town International Convention Centre.
Western Cape premier Alan Winde said this week there would be two more field hospitals in Cape Town and one elsewhere in the province.
More quarantine beds would also be provided for people who have had contact with confirmed Covid-19 patients, he said.