South African Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize on Thursday said that the country hit a ‘grim milestone’ on Wednesday, January 6, as more than 20,000 new Covid-19 cases were reported on the day, reported News 24.
South Africa reported 21,832 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of Covid-19 cases to 1,149,591. The recoveries currently stand at 929,239 at a recovery rate of 80.8%. A further 844 deaths were also reported, 452 in the Eastern Cape alone.
Mkhize said that 452 deaths reported from the Eastern Cape were due to data reconciliation dating between May and November 2020. He said it included analysis of community cases where post-mortem swabs were taken for testing and analysis of clinical records where the diagnosis was unconfirmed at the time of death.
“The National Department of Health is engaging the province to investigate the details of the reporting backlog,” the South African health minister said.
In related news, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s National Corronavirus Command Council (NCCC) met on Wednesday to discuss the country’s deteriorating Covid-19 situation following the discovery of a new coronavirus variant. Sources familiar with the matter claim that further restrictions are being considered.
As per reports, some of the NCCC members have recommended the country move to virus alert level 4 for the next 30 days to curb the spread of the virus. They asked not to be identified as no decision has been taken.
Other officials have called for the relaxation of measures including the ban on alcohol sales and the closing of the nation’s beaches considering the impact harsher restrictions might have on the economy.
At the end of December, the South African government announced it was moving the country to virus alert level 3 from level 1, banning alcohol sales, extending a nationwide curfew, and banning all kinds of indoor and outdoor gatherings to slow the spread of the pandemic.