Health minister confirms two more deaths‚ SA’s Covid-19 toll now at 11
Two patients in their 80s have died‚ bringing the death toll from Covid-19 to 11 in South Africa‚ health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday night. Both patients had underlying medical conditions.
The country has now recorded 1‚655 confirmed cases of Covid-19.
The total number of Covid-19 tests conducted so far is 56‚873‚ an increase of 2‚936 from those reported on Saturday.
One of the patients who died was an 82-year-old woman who was admitted to ICU on March 29‚ the minister said. She had a fever‚ shortness of breath‚ body pains‚ a dry cough and sore throat.
“She also had comorbidities that included hypertension‚ diabetes and high cholesterol.”
The second patient who died was an 86-year-old man admitted to hospital on March 26‚ with a diagnosis of bronchopneumonia and respiratory distress. He had an underlying condition of chronic obstructive airway disease.
Mkhize reported back about a meeting attended by 10 health ministers from African countries who received a briefing from the director of the Africa Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC)‚ Dr John Nkengasong.
Mkhize said the health ministers acknowledged that the rapid spread of the Covid-19 pandemic is an unprecedented public health disaster.
“We jointly shared the concern about the disastrous effect this pandemic may have on the African continent‚ given the levels of poverty and explosive spread in densely populated areas of human settlement.
“It was agreed we must strengthen our coordination efforts as a continent in order to limit the number of deaths and reduce the uncontrollable spread of this pandemic.”
Government also met with traditional health practitioners over the weekend‚ who complained about their non-recognition as essential service workers‚ resulting in them not being able to provide their herbal remedies during the 21-day lockdown.
The traditional healers committed to support initiatives such as tracing of contacts‚ said Mkhize‚ which would assist government in the referral of patients to public health care facilities should they suspect they may have contracted the coronavirus.
Mkhize said: “We acknowledge that government‚ through the department of health‚ has recognised the role of traditional health practitioners through the formation of the interim structure and passing of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act. Therefore‚ it is important to properly define their role during this lockdown period. [The meeting] further emphasised the importance of this sector to comply with all the policies and regulations that government has stipulated. This will ensure no one takes advantage of vulnerable citizens in the name of traditional healing.”
The breakdown of SA cases by province is:
WESTERN CAPE: 454
FREE STATE: 87
EASTERN CAPE: 31
NORTH WEST: 11
NORTHERN CAPE: 8
Source: TMG Digital.