Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
4 May 2021
6:52 am

Daily Covid-19 update: Mkhize calls for ‘calm’ after traveller from India tests positive

Molefe Seeletsa

The Health Minister assured citizens that the B.1.617 variant has not been detected in South Africa as of yet.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize. Picture: @COVID_19_ZA/Twitter.

As of Monday, 3 May, the cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases is 1,584,961 with 897 new cases identified, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed.

35 more Covid-19 related deaths were reported, with 2 from Eastern Cape, 6 from Free State, 7 from Gauteng, 16 from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), 0 from Limpopo, 1 from Mpumalanga, 0 from North West, 2 from Northern Cape and 1 from Western Cape.

This brings the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 54,452.

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Recoveries now stand at 1,508,558 representing a recovery rate of 95%.

A total of 10,715,773 tests have been completed with 16,752 new tests conducted since the last report, while the total number of vaccines that have been administered stands at 329,098.

Meanwhile, Mkhize further called for “calm” following an uproar on social media over reports that a person, who travelled from India to South Africa, tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.

Many people had raised questions on why the person was allowed to travel to the country in light of the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in India, particularly the different variants, including the B.1.617 coronavirus variant.

However, the minister has since dismissed claims that there were direct flights from India into South Africa, adding that “that all our ports of entry employ stringent containment procedures to minimise the importation of Covid-19”.

“We are currently on high alert to screen passengers and test those who require further assessment,” he said.

READ MORE: India nears 20m Covid-19 cases with deadly oxygen shortages

Mkhize assured citizens that the B.1.617 variant has not been detected in South Africa as of yet.

“We have not detected the B.1.617 variant as yet in South Africa, however, we have consulted members of the the genomics team who have informed us that they they have intensified their surveillance not only to ensure that variant can be detected quickly but also to understand what the implications are for us in the context of B.1.351 being the dominant variant in South Africa. This work is ongoing and we commit to continue to be guided by science.

“Meanwhile, we have also consulted the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) to advise us on the approach to management of travelers from countries that have epidemics driven by variants of concern.

“Their advise will assist us to determine the next steps forward, of which government will announce these determinations in due course. For now we ask for calm to prevail as we continue to adhere to the health protocols, tighten containment measures at our ports of entry, and keep a balance as we maintain economic activity,” he said.