Covid-19 in South Africa


South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced during a televised broadcast that restrictions put in place to control the spread of coronavirus will be lowered to alert level one, from level three.

He stated that restrictions put in place over the holiday period had succeeded in reducing infection levels; from 90,000 a week at the end of December, to 10,000 new infections last week.

This means that most remaining restrictions on economic activity will be lifted.

President Ramaphosa explained that all energy and effort must now go into growing the economy, whilst exercising extreme caution to prevent further spread of the virus. While adding that the threat of a third wave is constantly present, as is the threat of new variants emerging.

He also said social distancing, avoiding crowds, and wearing masks, are more important than ever.

Local media has disclosed that the premier of Gauteng, David Makhura has tested positive for Covid-19. 

Gauteng, the South African province has recently become the epicenter of the country’s coronavirus outbreak.

Mr. Makhura stated via Twitter that he had been tested for coronavirus after showing symptoms and will now self-isolate and work from home for 14 days while monitoring his health as his symptoms are still mild.

He also urged people to wear masks, wash hands and keep social distance.

Local media has reported that about 31 schools in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province have been closed because of coronavirus. 

The decision was said to have been made after 15 teachers, three learners and two non-teaching staff had tested positive for Covid-19.

The education department spokesperson in the province, Loyiso Pulumani, said some were closed for cleaning.

Adding that schools had been given guidelines on what to do when cases necessitate cleaning and they should reopen after a few days.

The Eastern Cape province has the second highest number of cases in the country.

Reopening of schools has been postponed as well.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has revealed that almost 200 schools in South Africa have been vandalised, or burgled since the beginning of a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus,

Most of the schools that has been hit are said to be in the Gauteng province, the country’s economic hub.

Ms Motshekga mentioned that valuables such as: computers and tablets were stolen, alongside groceries.

The minister also said that dozens of suspects have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the burglaries, adding that harsh action would be taken of any is found guilty.

The Police force also revealed that such incidents are normally experienced when schools close for the holidays.

South Africa’s Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, has announced the closure of a private hospital in South Africa after 66 people, 48 of them staff, tested positive for Covid-19.

The ministry stated that it was revealed last Friday that there was a group of cases traced back to the hospital. It was then that an appeal went out for everyone who had visited the facility since the beginning of March to get tested.

The provincial health minister suggested that the hospital might not have properly reported the number of Covid-19 cases it was treating at the time, and had failed to properly test for the virus.

All patients in the facility are currently being tested for coronavirus. It was said that those who test negative will be transferred to other hospitals in the area, while those who test positive will be required to stay at the hospital for treatment.

The security officials in South Africa has disclosed that they’ve arrested more than 17,000 people during the first week of the coronavirus lockdown alone for defying the restrictions imposed.

Nearly 1,500 cases have currently been confirmed in South Africa. The country officials have warned that unless people stay at home, the infections could jump over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, there has been a lot of resistance to some of the strict regulations which include a ban on the sale of alcohol and jogging outside.

World-renowned South African scientist, Gita Ramjee, has passed away on Tuesday from Covid-19 complications.

Prof Ramjee was said to have recently returned home from a trip to London. Although she portrayed no symptoms of COVID-19, she was admitted with pneumonia to a hospital in Umhlanga, in KwaZulu-Natal province.

Her research was focused on ways to prevent HIV transmissions in women in South Africa, earning her global recognition.

She was chief scientific officer at the Aurum Institute and former chief specialist scientist and director of an HIV research unit at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

As South Africans are currently on day five of a 21-day nationwide lockdown that was imposed last week to prevent the spread of COVID-19. South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, on Monday evening, launched a mass screening program for coronavirus.

He stated that 10,000 field workers would be visiting homes to screen people, and those found with symptoms would be quarantined either in their homes or in hospital

The president stated that the program was a new phase in the fight against the spread of the virus.

The government is also said to be  developing a technology that will help in tracking down all people who may have contacted people infected with the virus.

South Africa has recorded 1,326 cases of Covid-19 and three deaths so far.