Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now 12,739 confirmed cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 665 cases from the 12,074 cases reported on Wednesday, with the country having recorded its two highest daily totals over the prior 48-hour period, including 724 new infections in a single day on Wednesday.

Dr Mkhize said on Thursday (14 May), that the total number of deaths has now reached 238. This is an increase of 19 deaths from 219 reported before. There have been 5,676 recoveries.

“We have managed to flatten the curve to some extent due to the lockdown. Flattening the curve is an ongoing process and we must continue to battle this,” the minister said.

“We need the public to help us to continue to fight the pandemic. To fight this outbreak we need everyone to co-operate and create conditions to reduce the spread of the virus. Our main focus is we have lives to save.”

Mkhize said that 403,018 tests have been conducted with 16,666 done in the last 24 hour cycle.

Globally, coronavirus cases have surpassed 4.45 million infections, with deaths approaching 300,000, along with 1.68 million recoveries. The number of infected patients is at 2.48 million, with 45,778 (2%) considered serious or critical.

After containing their outbreaks through measures from strict lockdowns to rapid testing, Asian economies that have seen some of the most success in quelling the coronavirus – Hong Kong, China and South Korea – are now facing resurgences that underscore the near-impossibility of eradication, Bloomberg reported.

Vaccines are “global public goods which belong to everybody around the world,” World Health Organizstion’s regional director for the Western Pacific region Takeshi Kasai said, adding that vaccines are not something a country produces and reserves. “As long as virus is circulating in this inter-connected world, and until we have a safe and effective vaccine, everybody remains at risk.”

The comments come after Sanofi’s chief executive said the US will likely be first in line should the company succeed in developing a vaccine. A French government minister said this would be unacceptable, Bloomberg said.

Business reality

Statistics South Africa has published its second business impact survey, providing an update on how well South African businesses are currently faring under lockdown.

The survey, which features responses from 2,182 businesses, covered the period 14 April – 30 April 2020.

Just over a third (36%) of firms indicated that they are laying off staff in the short term as a measure to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. This is higher than the 20% reported in the first survey.

A quarter of businesses indicated that they are decreasing working hours, while nearly one in 10 (9%) businesses indicated that they have already ceased operations permanently.

The industries with the highest percentage of firms permanently closing their doors include:

  • Construction (14%);
  • Community, social and personal services (12%);
  • Agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing (12%).

When asked if they would operate during the level 4 lockdown, 56% of responding businesses indicated that they would continue to do business.


Read: South African restaurants call to open at level 3 – under these conditions