As of last night, South Africa has recorded a cumulative total of 633,015 Covid-19 cases, with 2, 420 new cases identified.
The country has also recorded 174 more Covid-19 related deaths: 39 from KwaZulu-Natal, 50 from Gauteng, 24 from Eastern Cape, 8 from Free State, 17 from Western Cape, 9 from North West and 27 from Mpumalanga. This brings the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 14,563, reports The Citizen.
“We extend our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the health care workers that treated the deceased patients. Our recoveries now stand at 554,887 which translates to a recovery rate of 88%,” said Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
The Western Cape government wants “to open up the economy even further” – after latest statistics show “the epidemic is declining” in the province.
And in parts of the Western Cape, some of the population may now have immunity against contracting Covid-19, the illness which stems from the coronavirus.
These were announced at Premier Alan Winde’s weekly “digicon” online press conference on Thursday.
“We can’t say with any certainty we have reached herd immunity,” reported Professor Mary-Ann Davies, Director at the Centre for Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology and Research at the University of Cape Town.
But, in some pockets, health authorities had detected “a high proportion” of people who were likely to have developed immunity against Covid-19.
Initial antibody testing, by the province, indicated “especially in poorer communities, a relatively high proportion have been exposed to an infected person with Covid-19”.
The flip side, though, was that there may well still be pockets of people, or communities, who had not been exposed to the coronavirus – and who thus may well remain vulnerable to it, the digicon heard.
“Ongoing vigilance” of these communities, in particular, was critical.
Significant Covid-19 surveillance would remain in place for the next 18 to 24 months.
Provincial health’s head of department, Dr Keith Cloete, said health authorities now “know how to respond”, should there be any flare-up in Covid-19 cases.
That said, Cloete said the provincial government was now “encouraging the opening of the economy and movement”.
But, this was on condition the population practiced safety: universal mask-wearing, relentless hand-washing and social distancing. Cloete advised “an arm’s length”, as a simple distance for every person to practice – especially in confined spaces like lifts, supermarkets and restaurants.
On the subject of a much-discussed “second wave”, he said it was “almost impossible” to predict whether there would be a resurgence – or its timing, location or magnitude. Or even whether any such “second wave” would be the precisely the same version of the coronavirus with the same genetic code.
Daily infections were now at around 10% of their peak.