Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize was again on hand to issue an update on the number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa.
The country completed a week on lockdown on Thursday, which was followed by an announcement on amended safety regulations.
Latest coronavirus cases, death toll and updates in South Africa
Speaking from Khayelitsha, where two new infections have been confirmed, Mkhize revealed that 1 505 people have tested positive in the country, up by 42 from Thursday. This is from over 50 000 tests done.
He also announced two more deaths resulting from complications related to the virus. This brings the total death toll to seven, with government waiting for official confirmation on two more deaths.
The deceased are both from KwaZulu-Natal – an 80-year-old man and an 81-year-old female, who each had pre-existing conditions.
“We would like to convey our condolences to the families and friends of these individuals. We would also like to thank the health workers who are working tirelessly every day.”
Mkhize said his department is anticipating a change in the trend, with government in the process of strengthening the screening and testing process.
“We have been discussing since President has announced, that we are going to roll out the testing. We have identified areas of priority. We are ready to give additional support and reinforcement to the areas that need assistance.”
Lockdown places South Africa on “good course”
According to Mkhize, it is still too early in South Africa’s lockdown to make postulations on what should be happening next.
He did acknowledge that since the lockdown came into effect on 26 March, there are encouraging signs.
“We are on a good course. The key, however, is how we make sure the lockdown works. “We need to flatten the curve and ensure that when the flu season starts, we need to be ready before that time comes.”
Earlier members of the National Command Council held a briefing on economic matters amid the revised lockdown regulations.
Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe said since the lockdown took effect, mining operations have been scaled down.
“Since our last briefing, we’ve been working with key stakeholders in this sector to monitor and ensure compliance with the lockdown,” Mantashe said.” Mining operations are scaled-down, essential services continue to work. On Tuesday, we undertook unannounced visits to three collieries in Mpumalanga. These operations supply coal to Eskom. Mines were not at the same level of readiness for the lockdown.”