Senior Researcher at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Dr Ridhwaan Suliman says there’s been a significant drop in the number of coronavirus cases in the country.

Over 1.4 million cases and just over 44 000 deaths have been recorded since the start of the outbreak. 

South Africa has recorded 4 525 new COVID-19 cases as at Sunday evening, taking the total number of cases to 1 453 761. The country has also recorded 213 new COVID-19-related fatalities, bringing the total deaths to 44 164. 

Latest SA stats:

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Dr Suliman says the average number of cases has dropped by 44% compared to a week ago. The 7-day average currently stands at just over 6 300 per day over the last week. That’s a decline of 44% compared to a week ago. New cases have halved over the last eight to nine days. 

Over the last 3 to 4 weeks, this sustained decrease is a reflection of the measures and interventions that have been put in place. People are certainly more compliant with the regulations. 

As Dr Suliman explains the COVID-19 second wave seems to have peaked in all the provinces and the infection rates are now coming down. 

Dr Suliman says the demand for testing has also gone down, reflecting a drop in infections. 

“Currently, over the last week, we’re averaging 42 500 tests per day. That has decreased by 23% compared to a week ago. The decrease has now been sustained for two weeks. It’s certainly a reflection of a lower demand for testing. There’s certainly a lower rate for transmission, which means that there are fewer infections, less people showing symptoms and therefore, less people going for testing.” 

Loosening of restrictions  

There has been speculation that President Cyril Ramaphosa will announce a relaxation of the lockdown regulations this week with a possible easing of restrictions on alcohol sales. Political analyst, Professor Dirk Kotze says the President has been in discussion with the National Command Council. 

“I definitely think there’s going to be loosening of some of these restrictions. There’s lots of discussion about the selling of alcohol. I think the issue about the curfew will be discussed also. It might be changed to later and shorter hours for the curfew.  The hotspots will most probably be addressed, opening of beaches and how to make possible for especially the tourism industry because they were affected by these restrictions, how to be able to kick start that again.” 

Calls for relaxation of lockdown restrictions: