Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now a total of 516,862 cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 5,377 cases from the 511,485 infections reported previously.

The data shows that there are 173 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 8,539 casualties, following 213 deaths reported on Sunday.

Dr Mkhize pointed to 358,037 recoveries to date.

A total of 3.05 million tests have been conducted, with 21,916 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, the minister said.

Since 31 December 2019 and as of 3 August 2020, approximately 18.2 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported, including around 694,000 deaths.

The data pointed to approximately 11.5 million recoveries to date.

Several studies estimate the mortality rate of the novel coronavirus at 0.6%, said Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organisation’s top epidemiologist on Covid, as reported by Bloomberg.

“That may not sound like a lot, but it is quite high,” she said.

The death rate is about 1 in 200 compared with one in 10,000 or 100,000 in the 2009 swine flu pandemic, according to Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme.

Revised school calendar

The Department of Basic Education has published a revised school calendar for the 2020 academic year.

“In terms of the new version of the calendar, schools will resume on 24 August 2020. There are 163 actual school days for teachers and 156 for learners,” the department said.

The school year will be completed on 15 December 2020 for Grades R-11.

“A break in school will be needed to separate the third and fourth terms. As a result there will be a one week break in October from the 26th to the 30th. The teaching, learning and assessment for the 2020 academic year must be concluded by 15 December 2020 for Grades R-11,” the department said.

The 2020 Grade 12 examinations will be completed by 15 December and the marking will be concluded on 22 January with results released on 23 February 2021.

The new school year will commence on 25 January 2021 for teachers and learners a few days later.

The calendar will be gazetted and published this week.

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