Gauteng set to become SA epicentre of Covid-19 – Mkhize

Surge in economic hub and most populous province
Health Minister Dr Zwelini Mkhize. Image: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

With Gauteng’s overall tally of confirmed Covid-19 cases set to top the 40 000 mark and more than 3000 new infections now being reported daily, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has warned that “Gauteng is expected to emerge as the country’s Covid-19 epicentre within the coming days”.

Over the past 10 days South Africa’s economic hub and most populous province has reported a surge in new coronavirus infections, which has seen it overtake the Western Cape in terms of “active” Covid-19 cases.

In his daily virus update on Monday, Mkhize revealed that Gauteng has 39 841 confirmed Covid-19 cases. Of this total, 30 103 are currently active cases while there are 9 738 recoveries in the province.

The Western Cape’s confirmed cases stands at 61 375. However, with the large majority (42 636) of cases now regarded as recoveries, the number of active Covid-19 cases in the province stands at 18 739. The Western Cape, however, is still home to the highest number of virus-related deaths, at 1 807 of South Africa’s overall 2 529 fatalities as of Monday.

Mkhize said while the cumulative number of confirmed Covid-19 cases countrywide is 144 264, around 48.9% or 70 614 of these were now recoveries. He did not go into detail on how many of the currently active cases represented patients in hospital or in ICU beds.

On Gauteng’s surge, he reiterated in a tweeted post that Covid-19 models predict the province will “within the coming days emerge with the highest number of positive cases.”

He said factors contributing to this trend include the inward migration of people; the large population size in Gauteng’s metro cities; and, increasing congregation of people (due to eased lockdown measures).

Gauteng has the third highest number of Covid-19 deaths (180), while the Eastern Cape has the second highest number of fatalities, at 397. Virus-related deaths in KwaZulu-Natal, which saw the first reported cases in the country back in March, has slowed and currently stands at 115.

Mkhize on Sunday warned that the country is “seeing a rapid rise in the cumulative number of positive Covid-19 cases”, which is an indication that it is “approaching a surge during the latter winter months of July and August”.

He added: “It is anticipated that while every province will unfortunately witness an increase in their numbers, areas where there is high economic activity will experience an exponential rise – beginning with Gauteng and Western Cape and followed by Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.”

While KwaZulu-Natal is South Africa’s second largest economic hub (in terms of GDP contribution) as well as population size, the province is still behind the Eastern Cape as a Covid-19 hotspot.

The Eastern Cape now has more than double the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases (26 195), compared to KwaZulu-Natal’s tally of 9041 as of Monday evening. There are 12 824 reported recoveries from the virus in the Eastern Cape, while in KwaZulu-Natal this stands at 3602.

Source: National Health Department

“When the national lockdown was eased to level three, there was a large inward movement of people as economic activities resumed. The surge that has been witnessed in the past two weeks has developed due to seeding of infections carried in by members of the community as they moved back into the workplace,” Mkhize said at the weekend.

“It was therefore inevitable that there would be cluster outbreaks as infections spilled over from communities into places of congregation such as mines, factories, taxis and busses… We have indeed witnessed this in the mining sector in the North West where cluster outbreaks in the mines have driven a sudden increase in the numbers in this province,” he added.

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Talk is now that government wants to step back to stricter. That would imho be bad mistake.

I have/had covid. No symptoms thank heavens and now 22 days since test so 25 days prob since infected. I forced a test as nobody wanted to test my daughter and I even after a contact with a symptomatic positive.

My view is that there are 1000 of me for every one we screened and tested. Please don’t argue that because nobody has data to back the argument against my conclusion that is based on our family and others that have had zero symptoms but tested positive.

I may or may not now be immune. Answer that question FIRST before we decide on strategies. How? Massive scale antibody testing. Maybe start with proper statistically random sampling and refine the population based on findings in age, sex, location etc.

Why is lockdown bad idea? We have already run out of UIF for everybody. We will close tens of thousands of businesses if we go big lockdown.

Our next lockdown must be targeted. If you are over this age, have these underlying problems, live in these areas : then you stay at home. Everybody else : get out there and behave sensibly.

Tests must be targeted. We do not have the money for random testing and it is NOT best practice. Sanitize, wear masks, wash hands, keep your distance. Do not endanger others. That is all. And stop telling people over 60 or with co-morbidities what to do. My body, my choice, for heaven’s sake.

Griet : have you had Covid? You do not know, I know I have.

On our current system of screening I would never have been tested – …. I have far more trust in statistical maths than the government’s screening before testing.

My bet is if we think we have had 150,000 positive we have had 15m minimum. I or an actuary can design a 1000 person statistical test to prove my theory. Or disprove it. You and the gov have ZERO statistical foundation for any theory you come up with. So easy – disprove me with a statistically valid antibody test???

I do not have to go into the statistics. You prove my point. You tested positive and were asimptomatic. You did not “have covid-” for that you needed to have been ill. Test kit wasted. If you had gone about your business while adhering to the safety protocols, you would not have infected anyone. This is best practice in many countries. Instead of alienating the populace with idiotic and draconian rules, government should have launched a positive and upbeat safety campaign that the people could get behind. Now it is too late and there is no chance of success.

I can’ understand why groups like “Black lives matter” aren’t communicating the message that it is essential that all people wear masks when out and about. The numbers on my travels today amounted to upward of 15 – happily walking in the streets standing on corners chatting away in a group.
If black lives matter for goodness sake take heed of this pandemic

There lies the problem, Graham. The campaign should have been positive and clear. No locking up of people, destroying their livelihoods and frustrating them with idiotic booze and sigarette bans. Not to mention the endless threats. No one believes a word the government says anymore, we are not burying people by the truckload as we have repeatedly been warned. You catch more flies with sugar than vinegar, but that message seems to be lost on a dictatorial government. And now Tito plan to tax us into prosperity. Cry the beloved country.

Gauteng was always the epicenter, they just did not count properly. Had to concentrate on trashing the DP run WP.

Rubbish….where’s the proof of this?

He added: “It is anticipated that while every province will unfortunately witness an increase in their numbers, areas where there is high economic activity will experience an exponential rise – beginning with Gauteng and Western Cape and followed by Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.”

So what did the lockdowns accomplish….nothing.

Oh, they did obliterate the economy though

End of comments.

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