Covid-19: Another hard lockdown is possible, warns Mkhize
"This pandemic that is attacking us globally will cause some of us lifetime scars. It steals from us - from some lives, others jobs, others businesses. It spares no race, no gender or social class," Mkhize said.
He said since the last release of scientific model results in May 2020, the national Covid-19 Epi-Model, has been updated to model Covid-19 at a district level, making use of South African hospitalisation data, updated estimates of the reproductive number, and a shift in testing priorities.
"Model projections indicate that, while the epidemic is predicted to peak nationally at a similar time to the previously projected optimistic curve (that is mid-August), it does so at a lower level. This means that fewer people were infected in May and June than was previously predicted even under the optimistic scenario.
"While the model projects a lower need for hospital (non-ICU) and ICU beds at a national level, bed capacity is still expected to be breached or overwhelmed in all provinces," Mkhize told Parliament.
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Mkhize used the occasion to update the country on the latest Covid-19 figures.
"To date, 48% of the confirmed cases have recovered, bringing the total to 103 934. For the period 01 March through to 6 July, 1 907 532 laboratory tests for SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) were conducted nationally.
"Four provinces, including Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, accounted for 82% of tests performed up to 6 July. The overall percentage testing positive was 11.8%," Mkhize said.
So far, there have been 3 470 confirmed deaths, which is a death ratio of 1.6%.
The Western Cape has the highest number of confirmed cases at 72 156, followed by Gauteng on 71 488, the Eastern Cape 40 401, and KwaZulu-Natal 16 743.
To date, 139 quarantine facilities were activated across the country, which constitutes a total of 12 532 beds.
Mkhize said they expect Gauteng to have the highest number of confirmed cases.
"We have used a differentiated approach in our response, through a classification of districts as areas of 'vigilance' and 'hotspots'. In all areas, the focus continues to be on prevention of new infections, containment, mitigation and recovery," he said.
Mkhize said the government's objective is to strengthen national and provincial mechanisms for timely detection, management and containment of the spread of Covid-19.
He said there are nine overarching priorities, which includes, among others, strengthening surveillance and strategic information, strengthening capacity at ports of entry by enhancing screening capacity, and augmenting environmental health.