40,000 now dead from Covid-19 in SA, but Mkhize says 'promising evidence' that second wave on the decline

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize reports 11,761 new Covid-19 cases and 575 more coronavirus related deaths, taking the total number of fatalities past 40,000

22 January 2021 - 22:11
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize reports 11,761 new Covid-19 cases and 575 more coronavirus related deaths, taking the total number of fatalities past 40,000.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize reports 11,761 new Covid-19 cases and 575 more coronavirus related deaths, taking the total number of fatalities past 40,000.
Image: ALON SKUY

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Friday night that there was “promising evidence” that the Covid-19 second wave was on the decline.

Mkhize said on Friday that 11,761 new cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours — but this was at a positivity rate of 19%, significantly lower than the positivity rate from the height of the second wave of infections over the past month.

But this good news comes against the backdrop of SA reaching another grim milestone in its battle against the pandemic. Mkhize reported that another 575 Covid-19 related deaths had been reported, meaning that more than 40,000 have now died across SA.

Of the newly recorded deaths, 166 were recorded in Gauteng, 133 in KwaZulu-Natal, 129 in the Eastern Cape, 77 in the Western Cape, 37 in the Free State, 18 in Mpumalanga, and 15 in the Northern Cape.

“In the past week we have observed a decline in transmission as evidenced by reduced new cases daily, a steadily decreasing positivity rate — 19% today from a high of 36% in this wave — and promising evidence of downward deflection of admission numbers. We are hoping that this decline in numbers is going to bring the much required reprieve to our overwhelmed health facilities, both in the public and private sector,” the health minister said.

He added that these figures were being monitored closely “to inform our process of recommending the review of some of the restrictions that are currently in place”.

“We are very grateful to all South Africans for playing their role in mitigating the devastating effects of Covid-19. We do, however, continue to caution that the transmission rate is still very high and we need to ensure that it is reduced to an acceptable level before we can ease restrictions.

“It is therefore imperative that we do not grow fatigued and continue to focus on the things we know provide protection: strict wearing of masks, social distancing and regular sanitisation of hands and surfaces,” he said.

So far, 1,201,284 recoveries have been recorded, at a recovery rate of 86%.

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