Covid-19 update: Gauteng denies seeking hard lockdown, schools reopen

Covid-19 update: Gauteng denies seeking hard lockdown, schools reopen

South Africa is hovering near the 200 000 infection mark while millions of students return to the classroom on Monday. explores the latest updates on the Covid-19 pandemic.

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After months of being at home on lockdown South African students are returning to the classroom to join Grade 12 and 7 classmates. explores the top news updates on the pandemic in SA:

1. Cases loom near 200 000 mark

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that South Africa is hovering near 200 000 infections.

In a statement issued to update the nation on the latest statistics, the minister reported that:

"As of today, the cumulative number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa is 196 750 with 8 773 new cases reported."
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize
Source: Twitter

One of the highest numbers of daily deaths was also recorded over the weekend with 173 fatalities, according to Mkhize:

"Regrettably, we report a further 173 Covid-19 related deaths - 2 from Northern Cape, 10 from the Free State, 21 from KwaZulu-Natal, 29 from Eastern Cape, 40 from Western Cape and 71 from Gauteng.
"This brings the total deaths to 3 199. We wish to express our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the healthcare workers who treated the deceased. The number of recoveries is 93 315, which translates to a recovery rate of 47,4%."

READ ALSO: Gauteng looking at 'harder' restrictions including alcohol ban

2. Gauteng denies calling for hard lockdown to return

The Gauteng government insists that it is not calling for harsher lockdown restrictions to be reimplemented.

Provincial spokesperson Thabo Masebe has denied media reports to the contrary:

"We are not calling for the return of hard lockdown. We fully understand and support the current risk-adjusted strategy, which is being implemented by the national government. We understand that under Level 3, we had to reopen the economy and more sectors. The schools are reopening and we fully support that."

3. Back to school for millions of students

Monday sees over 2 million South African students returning to the classroom after months of lockdown.

Grade 6 and 11 pupils were permitted to return on 6 July, with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga urging schools that are ready to welcome Grade R students back to do so.

Schools that aren't prepared to have Grade R children back just yet were instructed to submit their plans to welcome them before the end of July.

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