Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that there are now 5,350 positive Covid-19 cases in South Africa.

This is up from the 4,996 Covid-19 cases announced on Tuesday by the minister, meaning a rise of 354 cases over the past 24 hours.

This is the highest number of cases in a 24-hour cycle recorded to date and represents a 73% increase relative to the day before.

Mkhize also reported that the number of deaths from the coronavirus now stands at 103 , up from the 93 deaths reported on Tuesday.

A total of 197, 127 tests have been conducted so far, up from a total of 185,4970 before.

Globally, coronavirus cases stand at around 3.15 million, with 218,636 deaths, and 964,872 recoveries.

Elon Musk hit out against the lockdowns that have kept businesses closed for more than a month, Bloomberg reported.

“Give people their freedom back!” Tesla Inc.’s chief executive officer said, as he promoted Wall Street Journal analysis that suggested closures don’t save many lives.

“Bravo Texas!” he tweeted, highlighting a Texas Tribune story that said the state’s businesses can reopen on Friday.

In a separate tweet, Musk also agreed with another user who said the US should carefully peel back restrictions — albeit with social-distancing measures in place.

President Trump meanwhile, said in a Twitter post that “the only reason the US has reported one million cases of CoronaVirus is that our Testing is sooo much better than any other country in the World.”

Back to school

Director-general for Basic Education, Hubert Mathanzima Mweli says that schools could open as early as 4 May for teachers, before learners return on Monday, 6 May under a phased approach, beginning with grades 7-12.

Mweli stressed that these dates are tentative and are subject to change as part of a draft amended school calendar. He was speaking as part of a Department of Basic Education update on the status of schooling during the Covid-19 Lockdown.

The director-general listed a number of non-negotiable pre-conditions for the reopening of schools.

The list included water and sanitation, Covid-19 essentials, cleaners, screeners, additional teaching posts to avoid overcrowding, the provision of mobile classrooms, and the introduction of “incubation camps” for “progressed and weaker (Grade 12) learners”.

Additional pre-conditions for resuming learning activity includes safe transport for learners and employers; screening of learners and employees on entering institutions; prevention of viral spread; cleaning of surfaces and shared equipment; and good ventilation.

Learners will be required to wear face masks, along with all staff. Each learner will be supplied with three face masks.

Proposed return dates for learners are as follows:

  • Grade 7 and Grade 12 – 06 May
  • Grade 6 and Grade 11 – 20 May
  • Grade 5 and Grade 10 – 03 June
  • Grade 4 and Grade 9 – 17 June
  • Grade 3 and Grade 8 – 01 July
  • Grade 1 and Grade 2 – 08 July
  • Grade R – 15 July

The new school calendar for learners is proposed as follows:

  • Term 2 – 6 May to 26 July
  • Term 3 –  3 August to 23 September
  • Term 4 –  28 September to 9 December

The DG sated that June exams will be cancelled with the school year likely to end later – moving from 4 December to 9 December. Teachers will be on leave from 11 December.

The May/June exams for the National Senior Certificate (grade 12) will be combined with the October/November exams and rescheduled for November/December.

Read: New tentative date for the reopening of schools announced