SA’s Covid-19 deaths top 7,000

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As of today, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases is 452,529 – an increase of 7,096 from Sunday. The total number of deaths is 7,067, while the total number of recoveries is 274,925, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced.

“Regrettably we report 298 new Covid-19 related deaths: 77 from Eastern Cape, 61 from Gauteng, 9 from KwaZulu-Natal, 36 from Western Cape, 13 from Mpumalanga, 91 from the Free State and 11 from North West. We convey our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the health care workers who treated the deceased,” said Mkhize.

The expected spike in Covid-19 deaths has left funeral homes preparing for the worst.

Avbob, a 102–year-old funeral home, has roped in 11 mobile mortuaries.

“We are the largest funeral home in South Africa. We are more than 100 years old and, with experience, we have dealt with many pandemics,” Gauteng’s area manager for Funeral Services Vusi Dladla said.

“For now, there is no sign of panic. What we are currently doing is back up – we are preparing ourselves for the worst. There is no panic at this point in time,” he added.

The funeral home has distributed mobile mortuaries in Gauteng, Limpopo, Western Cape and the Eastern Cape, while two are still in the manufacturing process.

The mobile mortuary can take up to 30 bodies and the law requires that a Covid-19 funeral be conducted within three days, according to the funeral home.

“There is dignity in these mortuaries; it is a storage in our premises to preserve the body, in terms of the washing and dressing, that process is done in the private space. The dignity is there,” Dladla added.

Avbob’s spokesperson Marius du Plessis added that, currently, the supply outweighs the demand – but “it would be foolish not to prepare for the expected spike”.

“We all know we have not yet seen the spike in the mortality rate that everyone is expecting. I believe that is largely due to the lockdown. If it was not for that, we would have seen a higher mortality rate.

“We have decided that we need to be prepared for a spike in certain areas, for that reason we created these mobile mortuaries, a shipping container that has been converted into a mortuary and can be transported via road.

“It would be foolish not to be prepared for the expected spike, but right now the supply outweighs the demand,” he said.

Below is the provincial breakdown:

Source: Health department

The Citizen