*Note: Due to different reporting times, the provincial numbers will differ to the national numbers for given provinces by a few cases per day.
South Africa has 8 232 confirmed Covid-19 cases and an additional eight deaths, bringing the total to 161 deaths, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday.
Mkhize was speaking at a gathering to receive a donation of personal protection equipment (PPE) from Ithuba Holdings.
The Eastern Cape has seen an increase in confirmed cases, with the figure now at 929, Free State is at 134, Gauteng 1 804 and KwaZulu-Natal 1 204.
WC just below 50% of total cases
Mkhize also said the Western Cape was experiencing cluster outbreaks and needed mechanisms to deal with the outbreak more strongly in order to reduce the rate of spread.
“Western Cape at this point is just below 50% of the total. That means we have got outbreaks in a number of areas, particularly when I talk about factories, some of the shopping complexes and so on,” Mkhize said.
Mkhize said they were finding hotspots in the Western Cape.
He said the health department would be visiting the province, along with President Cyril Ramaphosa, to establish what reinforcements were needed to curb the increases in cases.
We want to salute President Ramaphosa for his leadership. We also want to salute our frontline workers and our security teams (Police, Defence force and metro police) We want to say thank you for all the work done.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) May 7, 2020
A total of 292 153 tests have been conducted to date, with 12 774 tests done in the past 24 hours, while over seven million people have been screened, the minister added.
Mkhize said most of the deaths reported were associated with comorbidities and, therefore, hygiene and physical distancing would be crucial as the country eases the lockdown.
Ithuba Holdings donated over 100 000 reusable masks.
On receiving the donation, Mkhize highlighted the importance of cloth masks, saying it could last for up to a year, which was an investment for healthcare workers.
“As soon as we get these distributed, we would like our members when they get on to their taxis, if they are on the road and going from home to work, they can have a different mask to wear when they get to work – that’s when we keep the surgical masks, the N95 and so on, specifically the PPEs for those particular conditions,” Mkhize said.
205 SAPS members test positive
Police Minister Bheki Cele also accepted donated masks, which were embedded with the SA Police Service (SAPS) badge.
Cele said the donation added a new colour to the fight against the virus and said it would make a difference to cops, who were also on the frontline in the fight against Covid-19.
He said 205 members of SAPS had contracted the virus, most of them from the Western Cape.
Cele said police would be on the ground at roadblocks to shut down provincial borders at exactly 23:59 on Thursday, when the grace period under Level 4 lockdown came to an end for people travelling between provinces.