KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says 13 people are dying everyday from the coronavirus in the province. He was briefing the media on how the virus is progressing during the festive season.  

Zikalalala says the increase in the number of deaths is consistent with the high number of new infections in the last two weeks. The recent surge in number of infections is being fueled by a new variant in South Africa.  

Despite this, however, Zikalala says the province is confident it has the bed capacity and infrastructure to cope.  

He’s raised a concern about the number of COVID-19 deaths suffered at home, calling on people to seek medical assistance sooner rather than later. 

“The actual number of deaths which occurred in week 50 was 68. And for week 51, it was 11. It tells you we are facing a serious challenge. The number of cases testing positive in the past two weeks increased from 15% to 24.5%. On the 17th December, the province received 22 home deaths. This means now that the province has 142 or 3% of deaths that occur at home since the beginning of the pandemic. 

As of the last COVID-19 reporting period, KwaZulu Natal has registered 154 535 COVID-19 cases and 3 635 deaths.

Latest SA stats:

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The Department of Community Safety within the Newcastle Municipality, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, has partnered with the local taxi association, Santaco, to ensure compliance. The organisations are monitoring if taxi operators are complying with COVID-19 regulations.

The municipality says currently its taxi ranks, especially the long distance ones, are experiencing high volumes as commuters head to different destinations for the festive season.

KZN tightening its COVID-19 controls:

Municipal Mayor, Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba, says they will also stop and search private vehicles. He says those found in possession of alcohol will be arrested.

“They must continue to wear their masks. We have all the stakeholders here and they must also not exceed the required numbers in their public transport and private cars, so to make sure that we encourage them that they stay safe on the road; don’t drink and drive. President made an announcement that alcohol is up until Thursday. So, we don’t expect even when we stop motorists here to be carrying alcohol.”