South Africa records slight decline in new COVID-19 cases

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South Africa is recording a slight decline in the number of new coronavirus cases as it reaches the pandemic’s peak. That’s according to Chairperson of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19, Professor Salim Abdool Karim.

Statistics from the Department of Health show that the virus has claimed more than 11 000 people. However, Karim says the actual figure could be double that, as the reported death toll is mainly an account of COVID-19 cases from hospitals and not necessarily those that pass away at home.

“Pretty much June and July, it reached a peak and now in August, it’s steadily coming down. The overall trends show how the epidemic has differed in each of our provinces. The epidemic, as it stands now is showing a very promising downward trend. It all depends on what the trends are in KwaZulu-Natal. Right now, it looks promising. Admissions are down; cases are down. If it stays like that, we are in a very good situation.”

Karim has urged South Africans not to become complacent as a second surge could strike at any time.

“As I look at the epidemic right now, my biggest concern is that we are still at high risk of a second surge. That’s a situation where we are declining but we go through a second rise in cases. That problem, we have seen in a few countries now. At present we are collecting data of the coronavirus that occurs largely in hospitals. We are missing the cases that are not in hospitals, deaths that occur at home or at other facilities. Looks like we are missing around half of the deaths that are occurring or slightly more.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize has attributed the decline to fewer people testing for COVID-19.

Confirmed COVID-19 statistics in South Africa: 

In the video below, Health Ministry anticipates the end of the COVID-19 peak: