Two more people have died due to Covid-19 in South Africa, bringing the total number of deaths to 11, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize announced on Sunday.
The number of Covid-19 cases in South Africa have also increased by 70 cases to 1 655, Mkhize said.
The first deceased patient is an 82-year-old woman who was admitted to ICU on 29 March.
“She had presented with fever, short breath, body pains, dry cough and sore throat. She also had comorbidities that included hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol.”
Breakdown of cases
The second deceased patient is an 86-year-old male admitted to hospital on 26 March with a diagnosis of bronchopneumonia and respiratory distress.
“He had an underlying condition of chronic obstructive airway disease,” Mkhize explained.
Gauteng still has the highest number of cases with 704, followed by the Western Cape with 454, KwaZulu-Natal with 246, Free State with 87, Eastern Cape with 31, Limpopo with 19, Mpumalanga with 18, North West with 11, Northern Cape with eight and 77 unallocated cases.
In total 56 873 tests for the virus have been conduced.
African Union’s response
On Saturday, President Cyril Ramaphosa chaired a meeting of the Coordinating Committee of the African Union’s Continental Response to Covid-19.
This meeting, which included 10 health ministers from African countries, received a briefing from Dr John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC).
Mkhize said the ministers agreed to strengthen coordination efforts to limit the number of deaths and to curb the spread of Covid-19.
All ministers agreed that the pandemic was an unprecedented health disaster and shared concern about the disastrous impact of the virus due to high levels of poverty and the “explosive spread in densely populated areas of human settlement”.
They also all agreed to embark on a strategy to raise funds to ensure self-sufficiency, promote manufacturing on the continent and pool procurement within countries.
“This will contribute to balancing our public healthcare strategies whilst contributing to protecting the economies of our countries.
“As AU Health Ministers, we also supported the initiative to coordinate technical experts, researchers and clinicians under the umbrella of the ACDC,” Mkhize said.
Concern that THPs are not recognised as essential service
Meanwhile, the Traditional Health Practitioners (THPs) national sector leaders have also expressed their support for government in dealing with Covid-19, including tracing of contacts.
It also pledged support for government’s hygiene campaign in the communities they serve. This includes hand washing and covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing.
However, the group expressed concern that they were not recognised as essential services.
“They presented to me that there are many citizens who consult with them and rely on their traditional herbs and remedies for their ailments.
“Since the lockdown, these THPs have not been able to provide these herbal remedies to their patients,” Mkhize said.
The THPs will assist in referring patients to public health facilities should they suspect patients of having Covid-19.
“We acknowledge that government, through the Department of Health, has recognised the role of Traditional Health Practitioners through the formation of the interim structure and the passing of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act.
“Therefore, it is important to properly define their role during this lockdown period,” Mkhize said.
He emphasised the importance of the sector to comply with the policies and regulations of government to ensure no one takes advantage of citizens.
“The THPs and I agreed that there must be an ongoing channel of communication with the department for proper coordination and information sharing that will assist in this fight against the Covid-19 virus,” Mkhize said.