Nearly 600 deaths in a single day as SA approaches 400,000 Covid-19 cases

400 deaths reported in the Eastern Cape, where Mkhize had slated officials

22 July 2020 - 23:00
By TimesLIVE
The number of Covid-19 cases in SA has risen to nearly 400,000, health minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Wednesday.
Image: GCIS The number of Covid-19 cases in SA has risen to nearly 400,000, health minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Wednesday.

SA recorded a massive 572 Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours, the health ministry confirmed on Wednesday night.

Of the new deaths, 400 were recorded in the Eastern Cape. A further 114 were recorded in Gauteng, 35 in the Western Cape, 18 in KwaZulu-Natal and five in the Free State.

The ministry said that the newly recorded fatalities took the national death toll to 5,940.

The ministry's latest figures also reveal that SA climbed closer to the 400,000 mark of Covid-19 infections, with 13,150 new cases confirmed in 24 hours.

The health ministry said SA now had a total of 394,948 cases across the country, the majority in Gauteng (144,582), the Western Cape (87,847), the Eastern Cape (67,818) and KwaZulu-Natal (50,521).

As is the case with total infections, the Western Cape (2,752), Gauteng (1,156), the Eastern Cape (1,345) and KZN (477) are responsible for the highest number of Covid-19 related deaths.

The HeraldLIVE reported on Wednesday that health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize had slated Eastern Cape officials for not releasing their death statistics on a daily basis.

Mkhize told a roomful of hospital managers from Dora Nginza, Livingstone hospital and Uitenhage Provincial hospital that there should be no more delays in releasing the figures.

“MEC, your reporting of deaths must be as they come and on a daily basis,” he told health MEC Sindiswa Gomba. “We want to know what the figures are every day."

He added: "We know there are challenges with death reporting because there are those whose comorbidities were worsened by the virus, which resulted in their deaths.

"Others died around the period of Covid-19 and all these must be investigated, but we are saying there’s a process of tracking deaths; we still want daily reports.

“We won't allow you to delay by a day and then another day because it creates a distortion."

The ministry also announced on Wednesday night that there were now 229,175 recoveries - a recovery rate of 58%.

Following the release of Wednesday's figures, according to worldometer, while South Africa has the fifth most cases globally, its mortality rate of 100 per 1 million of the population ranks 40th.

The figures are based on 2,585,474 tests - of which 48,553 were done in the most recent 24-hour cycle.

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