A 5th person has died of the coronavirus in South Africa. This was confirmed by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize at a media briefing in Durban.

The number of confirmed cases now stands at 1 353 up from 1 326 on Monday. The Minister says the latest death was in Gauteng which remains the province with most confirmed cases of the virus.

The Minister says the latest death was a 79-year-old man of Gauteng who had an underlying chest condition.

“This gives us 633 in Gauteng which is the highest, 325 in Western Cape, KZN 179, Free State 74, North West 8, MP 12, Limpopo 14, Eastern Cape 12, Northern Cape 6 then we have still got unallocated which is 90.”

Meanwhile, the Free State Health Department has confirmed that the third person who died from COVID-19 virus was the 85-year-old, Pastor John Hlangeni from the Global Reconciliation Church in Bloemfontein.

He attended the same church gathering than five international guests who later tested positive for the virus. The leader of the ACDP, Reverend Kenneth Meshoe and the party’s Chief Whip, Steve Swart as well as the evangelist, Angus Buchan also tested positive after the meeting.

Hlangeni died in the Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein on Monday. His 81-year-old wife who also has the virus is in isolation in the same hospital. Free State health spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi says the loss is a tragic one.

“It is with great sadness that we have to announce that we have lost one person in the Free State to coronavirus. John Hlangeni an 85-year-old man, a well-respected man in the community passed away yesterday in Pelonomi hospital. We are saddened because we are hoping that he would recover because we have a number of recoveries as well,” says Mvambi.

In the graph below we outline the confirmed cases of the coronavirus:

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Grant recipients die 

President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his sadness at the passing of three elderly social grant recipients on Monday in the vicinity of three different payment centres around the country.

In the Western Cape, a 74-year-old male, who had received benefits at Vangate Mall in Athlone, died on Jakes Gerwel Drive while on his way home.

In KwaZulu-Natal, a 63-year-old woman collapsed in a queue at the Hammarsdale Post Office and in Soweto in Gauteng, a 66-year-old woman collapsed shortly after disembarking from a taxi, near the Pimville Post Office, where she was due to collect her grant.

Ramaphosa has offered his sincere condolences to the families of the victims. He says through the government’s Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Programme the families will be assisted with material and psychosocial support.

In this video below we showcase social grants recipients from Alex:

Eastern Cape sets aside 2000 beds for COVID-19 patients:

In the Eastern Cape Health Department is working around the clock to contain the reported cases of coronavirus in the province. The aim is to ensure the virus does not drain the provincial health system.

The department is in a process of making additional 2 000 beds available to deal with COVID-19 patients.

The province had set aside 2500 ordinary beds for the coronavirus patients during the outbreak of coronavirus in the country. However, with the country on lockdown for 21 days, there is an influx of people flocked to the province, especially in rural areas.

The Head of Provincial Health Department, Dr Thobile Mbengashe says the influx might overwhelm the provincial health system.

“The ordinary bed that we have and services should still have to cope with ordinary people that we have and this is particularly important that everyone who becomes ill must have the same chance of being treated like anyone else. And two, when people are very ill, they need to be provided with all the support they need to make them survive the infection,” says Dr Mbengashe.

In the video below, President Cyril Ramaphosa announces the government’s measures to deal with the spread of coronavirus: 

Dr Mbengashe says special services centres have been set up, to ensure those who have gone for tests adhere to safety measures.

“We are also looking at what we call high-volume triage facilities. These high-volume triage services, they are going to make sure people that come to these centres, they are not grouped together and get further infection. We are allowing them to move very quickly with a well-designed service and they are able to go in get tested and go home.”

Twenty hospitals across the province have been prioritised for COVID-19.

Frontline staff members, at health institutions that conduct tests, will also be provided with protective clothing.