Minister of health Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now 101,590 total cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 4,288 cases from 97,302 cases reported on Sunday, while a record 24-hour increase of 4,966 infections was reported on Saturday.

The minister announced 61 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total up to 1,991, and a mortality rate of 2%, while recoveries increased to 53,130, which translates to a recovery rate of 52.6%.

A total of 1.35 million tests have been conducted to date, with 25,116 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, Dr Mkhize said.

Globally, since 31 December 2019 and as of 22 June 2020, 9 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, including in excess of 471,000 deaths, and 4.86 million recoveries.

Reusable products are safe to use even during the coronavirus pandemic as long as basic hygiene practices are employed, Bloomberg reported.

Single-use plastic is not inherently safer than reusable products as the virus can remain infectious on both surfaces for varying time, Greenpeace said in a statement endorsed by over 100 health experts around the globe.

Either reusable or disposable, they can be cleaned with widely used household disinfectants, such as soap and detergent, it said.

Concern over virus transmission has spurred consumption of single-use plastic products globally, including personal protective gear, medical equipment and delivery packaging.

The resurgence in the use of disposable materials will have negative impact on the environment and undermine years-long global efforts to curb plastic pollution, according to Greenpeace.

Job losses

President Cyril Ramaphosa says that South Africa faces a difficult road ahead following the outbreak of Covid-19, and has called for the country’s citizens to be realistic about future prospects – especially about the time it will take for the economy to recover.

The president said in his weekly open letter to the public, that the economy is now ‘in the throes of the anticipated fallout from this global crisis’ and that the predictions of businesses shutting down and jobs being lost are materialising.

“Last week, a number of companies announced plans to retrench staff. From aviation to construction, from entertainment and leisure to hospitality, companies have indicated their intention to retrench staff because of heavy losses incurred over the past three months.

“In other cases, businesses are closing permanently. Small businesses whose turnover has been wiped out will be even harder hit.”

Ramaphosa pointed out that South Africa is not alone in this regard and that a number of countries are now facing a ‘job loss tsunami’.

He noted that Italy, the UK, the US, Germany, India, China and nearly every country that had imposed some form of lockdown have recorded job losses or hours of workers reduced.

“For a country such as ours, which was already facing an unemployment crisis and weak economic growth, difficult decisions and difficult days lie ahead,” Ramaphosa said.

“We would urge that the difficult decisions to be taken are taken with care and with due regard to balancing the sustainability of companies and the livelihoods of workers.

“It is important that whatever is done is underpinned by ensuring a just transition to all concerned.”

Read: More South African businesses can now open – but it’s not that simple