The Covid-19 death toll in South Africa hit 705 on Monday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed in his daily update on the pandemic.
Mkhize reported 22 further fatalities in the last 24-hour cycle, all of which had taken place in the Western Cape, bringing the province’s death toll to 525. On Sunday, he reported a record daily death toll of 40 coronavirus-linked fatalities.
South Africa’s cumulative total of confirmed Covid-19 cases now stands at 34 357, of which 17 291 are recoveries. This means there are 17 000 active cases in the country.
Mkhize, who visited newly-established field hospitals and quarantine facilities as part of an oversight tour to the Western Cape on Monday, noted that 742 742 Covid-19 tests have been competed countrywide.
During his visit, he officially opened the Thusong Field Hospital in Khayelitsha, which is a partnership with international humanitarian organisation, Medicine Sans Frontiers. The Khayelitsha township is regarded as one of the hotspots for the ‘community spread’ of the virus in Cape Town.
Officially opening the Thusong Field Hospital, Khayelitsha. pic.twitter.com/mTSCyWllKC
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) June 1, 2020
“It’s very important that this centre is close to the community. The partnership with Medicine Sans Frontiers is very important because the fight against Covid-19 requires all of us to go into it together,” he said.
Mkhize also visited the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), which has been converted into a massive 862-bed temporary Covid-19 field hospital by the Western Cape government.
[WATCH] Minister of Health, @DrZweliMkhize, visited the WC to observe the Department of Health’s facilities that are being prepared for the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. @WCHealthMEC @WCGovTPW @HealthZA @WestCapeHealth @MadikizelaBongz @WesternCapeGov pic.twitter.com/sOd8cWimRj
— Premier Alan Winde (@alanwinde) June 1, 2020
The CTICC conversion follows a similar move by the Gauteng government, which in April launched a 500-bed field hospital within the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg. The temporary facility can be expanded to accommodate more than 800 beds and is close to Soccer City in Soweto, which is also being punted as a possible Covid-19 field hospital site.
The Durban Exhibition Centre, within the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre Complex, has also been identified as a Covid-19 field hospital location in KwaZulu-Natal.
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s expected Covid-19 oversight visit to the Western Cape is yet to take place. Ramaphosa’s planned tour of the province last month was postponed after Western Cape Premier Alan Winde had to go into self-quarantine. Winde’s self-quarantine is now over after coming into close contact with someone who had, and later died from Covid-19.
#COVID19UPDATE: A total of 17 617 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours. There are 1 674 new cases of #COVID19. Sadly we report 22 new #COVID19 related deaths and send our condolences to the loved ones.
Clean your hands regularly and limit contact with other people. pic.twitter.com/cEZXtZer8J
— NICD (@nicd_sa) June 1, 2020