Coronavirus: Mkhize announces 709 confirmed cases ahead of lockdown

Coronavirus: Mkhize announces 709 confirmed cases ahead of lockdown

- Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are 709 confirmed coronavirus cases in SA

- This comes as the nation prepares to enter an unprecedented lockdown on Thursday evening

- Mkhize discussed what the aim of the lockdown will be during this period

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Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has noted a spike in new coronavirus cases with the total rising to 709.

News24 reports that the minister indicated that there are still no fatalities as a result of the outbreak, with only two citizens recovering in ICU.

The minister also revealed that there remains no evidence that people who take ibuprofen worsen the condition, which is a story doing the rounds on social media.

Mkhize revealed that tests were not being done on demand, but rather on the basis of symptoms. The Covid-19 test takes around three hours to conduct, with the private sector charging R1 400 for it.

The cost has been driven up by citizens going to private doctors, so the minister is calling on the sector to lower the price.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: Citizens ignore Ramaphosa's call for calm and flood shops

Mkhize highlighted the importance of the impending lockdown, saying that the tendency has changed from imported cases to local transmission.

The minister listed the Free State as an example, saying the province had moved from five cases to 30, indicating local spread of the virus.

Mkhize acknowledged that the government was putting effort into reducing the time it takes to test for the virus:

"As we speak now, our figures are the latest from after 8pm last night. The delay has shortened, we're trying to reduce the lag. The other issue is that the numbers of people who test is from the numbers of people who go to the doctor to test, and how fast the labs can test." reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa had announced a 21-day lockdown in response to the outbreak.

Mkhize shed some light on what the focus during this time will be amid a general feeling of uncertainty:

"Lockdown is not about the movement of cars, its about stopping the mixing of people, so reducing the number of infections. We want to discourage people moving around during the Easter Weekend. You need to be in the same location over this three-week period."

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