Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize has revealed that for the first time, South Africa has breached the 18,000 mark for new daily Covid-19 cases.
In a statement, he said: “As of today [Thursday 31 December], the cumulative total of Covid-19 cases identified is 1,057,161, with 18,000 cases identified since the last report.”
“Regrettably, today we report a further 336 Covid-19 related deaths: Eastern Cape 57, Free State 1, Gauteng 84, KwaZulu-Natal 116, Limpopo 20, Mpumalanga 4, Northern Cape 4 and Western Cape 150. This brings the total to 28,469 deaths.
“We convey our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the healthcare workers who treated the deceased. Our recoveries currently stand at 879,671. This represents a recovery rate of 83%.”
Speaking earlier on New Year’s Eve during a candle-lighting ceremony in remembrance of Covid-19 victims, at the King Edward Hospital in Durban, Mkhize said: “As we gather today, for the first time in the history of the pandemic in South Africa, we have breached the 18,000 mark for new daily cases and have reached a cumulative total 1,057,161 cases.
SA has breached the 18 000 mark for new daily cases and have reached a cumulative total 1 057 161 cases.
55 000 new tests have been done.
28 469 South Africans have succumbed to #COVID19 of which 436 were public health care workers who paid the ultimate price in the frontline.
— Department of Health (@HealthZA) December 31, 2020
“Previously we warned that this second wave will dwarf the first wave and indeed this is the case as we witness a steep climb in numbers of active cases.”
“Despite performing 55,000 tests in the past 24 hours, the positivity rate is 32.5%. We keep highlighting this point because this indicates that the virus is spreading so fast that it is outpacing our ability to detect it, even with good turnaround times.”
On Wednesday, SA recorded 17,710 new daily cases, which was the highest new cases figure since the virus hit the country.
“A cumulative 28,469 South Africans are known to have succumbed to Covid-19 this year. Amongst those were 436 public healthcare workers who paid the ultimate price in the frontline,” Mkhize added.
He added that to date, 43,124 healthcare workers had been infected with the coronavirus, saying in the past week, every province had reported an increase in the numbers of healthcare workers who were infected, “with the biggest increase coming from KwaZulu-Natal, with 687 new cases”.