Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced that as of Friday there are now 1 505 positive cases of COVID-19, an increase of 43 new cases from Thursday.

“We also want to report that there are 2 more deaths from KwaZulu-Natal. An 80-year-old male and 81-year-old female,” said Minister Mkhize, adding that the total number of deaths now stand at 7 with 2 yet to be confirmed.

Speaking at Khayelitsha Hospital on Friday, he said he would like to convey Government’s condolences to the families and friends of these individuals. “We would also like to thank the health workers who are working tirelessly every day.”

Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo briefed the Minister on the number of cases.

“They have shown me the geo-mapping. The importance of this tracking is beyond one patient is the contacts by association which allows you to look into the social dynamics of the infected person. This is significant in the spread,” Mkhize said.

He said they have been discussing the roll out of the testing. “We have identified areas of priority. We are ready to give additional support and re-enforcement to the areas that need assistance.”

Earlier the Minister said he had a very interesting and informative discussion with experts from WHO and in Shanghai. “They took us through the case definition, how they dealt with the testing and manifestation of the virus in patients. They also went into detail on in patient treatment.”

They indicated that 20% of their patients become serious and of that 5% are admitted to ICU. They also indicated the importance of testing and screening at an early stage.

“We had an opportunity to ask fairly pertinent questions, for example, there are differences between us and them (we have a number of citizens with TB and HIV).

“We have approached the President to request reinforcement from a number of countries such as Cuba and China.”

He said they have seen the enthusiasm and preparedness by their colleagues. “We are in a good course. The key however is how we make sure the lockdown works. We need to flatten the curve and ensure that when flu season starts we need to be ready before that time comes,” the Minister warned. –

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