NATIONAL NEWS - The worst of the coronavirus pandemic in South Africa is over and the Health Department will be making recommendations to Cabinet via the National Coronavirus Command Council for the easing of lockdown restrictions.
In a comprehensive late night statement on Monday, the department indicated that the current daily infection rate, hospital bed occupancy, the current hospital admission rate, as well as the current death rate, all provided clear indicators that the worst of the surge in Covid-19 infections was over.
“Having observed evidence that suggests a sustained decline in coronavirus transmission, as the Department of Health we have considered easing restrictions in various aspects – such as the curfew, sale of alcohol, religious gatherings, and travel restrictions – for the National Coronavirus Command Council, which will make final recommendations to Cabinet,” the statement reads.
“Whatever decisions are made, it is important to emphasise that the risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19 still remains and that non-pharmaceutical interventions remain important as we learn to co-exist with the Coronavirus.”
On Monday, 956 new cases were added to the tally, bringing the number of total detected infections to 650,749.
However, the department said it is investigating the possibility that there might already be a level of immunity existing in South African society and that up to 12 million people are infected with the coronavirus.
“Initial seroprevalence studies from convenience samples have shown seroprevalence of between 29% and 40%. Interestingly, the revised models currently predict that there are probably about 12 million South African in total (detected and undetected) infected with coronavirus – this translates to about 20% of the population. We are currently embarking on a national seroprevalence study which should take us closer to the actual seroprevalence of Coronavirus antibodies and will give us a more accurate indication of our status of national immunity.
“Once the national study has been concluded we will communicate those results to the public."
On Monday, 52 more Covid-19 related deaths were reported, bringing the total number of related deaths to 15 499: 2 from KwaZulu-Natal, 3 from Gauteng, 4 from Eastern Cape, 7 from Western Cape, 15 from North West and 21 from the Free State.
According to the department, recoveries now stand at 579,289 which translates to a recovery rate of 88,9%.