The minister said the numbers were increasing despite the lockdown, primarily because people were continuing to mingle.
The number of infections have increased to 2,506, an increase of 91, with Gauteng at 930. Western Cape is at 657, KZN at 519, Eastern Cape at 199, Free State at 97, Limpopo at 25, North West at 23, Mpumalanga at 22 and the Northern Cape at 16. Eighteen cases are still unallocated.
The minister said seven deaths have now been added to the tally, bringing the total to 34. He said the delay in adding these deaths was because it took time to confirm that they were indeed Covid-19 related.
“Six of these deaths are from KwaZulu-Natal and one of them is from the Gauteng. We convey our condolences to the families and also appreciate the committed health workers who were treating these patients.”
The victims were listed as follows:
- A 71-year-old woman from KZN with co-morbidities diabetes, hypertension and renal failure, who died on 10 April.
- A 79-year-old man from KZN with unknown co-morbidities who also died on 10 April.
- An 86-year-old woman with hypertension who died on 9 April.
- A 91-year-old man from KZN who had diabetes and died on 12 April.
- A 73-year-old woman from KZN with diabetes and hypertension who died on 13 April.
- A 79-year-old woman from KZN with no known pre-existing condition who died on 13 April.
- A 50-year-old man from Gauteng with chronic asthma who died on 13 April.
The total number of tests conducted to date stood at 90,515.
Mkhize was at MultiChoice to thank football teams Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, as well as MultiChoice for their donations in the fight against the spread of the virus.
— Marc Lewis (@MarcLewisZA) April 15, 2020
Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung, Pirates boss Irvin Khoza, Mkhize and MultiChoice executive chairman Imtiaz Patel were among those in Randburg.
Appreciation Chiefs & Pirates Chaipersons including MultiChoice for contribution to health front-liners in fighting this pandemic "N Mafu pic.twitter.com/U6CFju2LYF
— Dep. Sport & Rec (@SPORTandREC_RSA) April 15, 2020
Mkhize noted that the global Covid-19 tally had passed 2 million on Wednesday, with deaths at nearly 130,000. Although the infection had not yet spread widely in Africa, he said underestimating the virus would be a mistake and he called on South Africa to continue to respect the call to avoid large gatherings, observe social distancing and keep washing hands and observing good hygiene practices.
He acknowledged the “huge sacrifice” from sports fans and leaders in the sports fraternity to end live events in stadiums.
On behalf of the “entire health fraternity”, he thanked the sports teams and MultiChoice for the donation of personal protection equipment for health workers on the front lines.
The donation included 100,000 N95 masks, 350,000 surgical masks, 100,000 gloves, 10,000 protective overalls, 10,000 wipes and 100,000 shoe covers for frontline works.
Mkhize expressed his confidence and support for the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the wake of US President Donald Trump accusing the WHO of deception and deciding to withdraw his country’s support and funding for the WHO.