Daily Covid-19 update: Eased restrictions on the cards

Nurses set up the new ventilators during an event at Charlotte Maxeke hospital in Johannesburg, 24 August 2020, in which the Solidarity Fund delivered a batch of ventilators to the hospital. This is the first batch of over 20 000 locally produced ventilators that are easy to use, non invasive and cheaper than previous versions. Picture: Neil McCartney

The Health Department is considering making recommendations on easing restrictions such as the curfew, sale of alcohol, religious gatherings, and travel restrictions.

The worst of the coronavirus pandemic in South Africa is over and the Health Department will be making recommendations to Cabinet via the National Coronavirus Command Council for the easing of lockdown restrictions.

In a comprehensive late night statement on Monday, the department indicated that the current daily infection rate, hospital bed occupancy, the current hospital admission rate, as well as the current death rate, all provided clear indicators that the worst of the surge in Covid-19 infections was over.

Having observed evidence that suggests a sustained decline in coronavirus transmission, as the Department of Health we have considered easing restrictions in various aspects – such as the curfew, sale of alcohol, religious gatherings, and travel restrictions – for the National Coronavirus Command Council, which will make final recommendations to Cabinet,” the statement reads.

“Whatever decisions are made, it is important to emphasise that the risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19 still remains and that non-pharmaceutical interventions remain important as we learn to co-exist with the Coronavirus.”

Stats update – 12 million infected

On Monday 956 new cases were added to the tally, bringing the number of total detected infections to 650,749.

However, the department said it is investigating the possibility that there might already be a level of immunity existing in South African society and that up to 12 million people are infected with the coronavirus.

“Initial seroprevalence studies from convenience samples have shown seroprevalence of between 29% and 40%. Interestingly, the revised models currently predict that there are probably about 12 million South African in total (detected and undetected) infected with coronavirus – this translates to about 20% of the population. We are currently embarking on a national seroprevalence study which should take us closer to the actual seroprevalence of Coronavirus antibodies and will give us a more accurate indication of our status of national immunity.

“Once the national study has been concluded we will communicate those results to the public.”

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On Monday,  52 more Covid-19 related deaths were reported, bringing the total number of related deaths to 15 499: 2 from KwaZulu-Natal, 3 from Gauteng, 4 from Eastern Cape, 7 from Western Cape, 15 from North West and 21 from the Free State.

The 7 day moving average number of weekly Covid-19 cases per province. Source: Dept of Health

According to the department, recoveries now stand at 579,289 which translates to a recovery rate of 88,9%.

PPE and corruption

In the statement, the department clearly stated that frontline healthcare “remains of paramount importance”.

As a result, the it said, “no PPE no work”.

A cumulative total of 32,429 health care workers (as of 11 September) had been infected with Covid-19 and 257 death had been reported.

The department also lashed out at alleged corruption: “We note with concern the findings of the Auditor General which include that there were deficiencies and non-compliance with PPE procurement processes, the insufficient controls to ensure receipt and payments of PPE and the level of quality of PPE, delays in the delivery of PPE as well as evidence of price gauging and failure to procure PPE at market related prices.

“This cannot be accepted.

“This must be condemned and, once all the investigations have been concluded, there must be consequence management for any officials that may be implicated in wrongdoing and/ or irregularity.

Click here to read the full, comprehensive statement.

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