Minister of health Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced the latest number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in South Africa, reporting an increase of 251 new infections, taking the total up to 3,034.

The minister also announced two new deaths, which takes the total number of people who have died as a result of Covid-19 in South Africa, to 52.

Mkhize said that the deaths are being described as “Covid-19-related” as the patients tested positive for the virus at the time of death. However, he stressed that, as is the case globally, those who succumb to the virus are the elderly and those with co-morbidities.

More than 108,000 tests have been conducted to date.

Gauteng has the most cases of infection with 1,101, followed by the Western Cape (836), and KwaZulu-Natal with 604 cases.

Globally, coronavirus cases have hit over 2.3 million infections, with more than 158,000 deaths, and 591,000 recoveries.

Spain joined Italy and the US in reporting more than 20,000 deaths from the coronavirus. German infections increased by the most in seven days and Russia reported the most new cases in one day, Bloomerg reported.

Germany, Canada, France, the UK, South Korea and eight other nations meanwhile issued a joint statement noting the “critical role” of the World Health Organisation in tackling the virus outbreak days after US president Donald Trump moved to suspend funding of the group.
Key Developments

The 13 nations also agreed that emergency measures to tackle the virus “must be targeted, proportionate, transparent and temporary.” They must not “create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global supply chains” and must comply with WTO rules.

SA lockdown without alcohol

The Presidency has declined the request of the Gauteng Liquor Forum for its members to sell alcohol during the declared National State of Disaster and lockdown.

“The restriction on the sale of liquor will remain,” said the Presidency on Friday.

The decision was communicated to the forum’s attorneys on Friday via the offices of the State Attorney.

“The president [Cyril Ramaphosa] and government as a whole remain committed to financially supporting businesses in distress during this period. The President has carefully considered the representations made by the Gauteng Liquor Forum.

“These, however, have had to be weighed up against the imperative of all South African businesses and citizens to comply with the lockdown regulations, the health implications of consumption of alcohol and the priority to ensure social distancing during this principle.

“As such, alcohol is not considered an essential good or item. It is in fact considered a hindrance to the fight against the Coronavirus,” said the president’s office.

The representations from other stakeholders who have pointed to the causal relationship between alcohol intoxication and abuse, and risky behaviour, was also considered by President Ramaphosa.

There are proven links between the sale and consumption of alcohol and violent crime, motor vehicle accidents and other medical emergencies at a time when all private and public resources should be preparing to receive and treat vast number of Covid-19 patients.

Read: No hot food may be sold during lockdown – and government isn’t budging on the alcohol ban either