Saturday’s statistics represent an increase of 1 727 confirmed cases and 32 Covid-19-related fatalities over the past 24 hours.
The Western Cape, with 1 254 new cases, continues to be the province with the highest number of cases in the country, followed closely by Gauteng with 190 new cases the Eastern Cape with 176 new cases.
BREAKDOWN BY PROVINCE
A total of 701 883 tests have been processed cumulatively of which 21 708 tests were done in the past 24 hours, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.
DEATHS AND RECOVERIES
The 32 more Covid-19 related deaths brings the total national death toll to 643, with the most deaths occuring in people aged between 60 and 69 (26.2%). To date, there have been slightly more fatalities among males (52.6%) than females.
The number of recoveries to date are 16 116. This translates to a recovery rate of 52%, Mkhize said.
SCHOOLS PREPARE TO REOPEN
Across the country, schools have been hard at wwork preparing for the return to class on Monday of Grade 7 and 12 pupils. However, teacher unions and a number of concerned parent groups have expressed serious reservations about the move. In the first few days after teachers returned to school to prepare for the resumption of classes a number of teachers tested postive for Covid-19, forcing those schools to be closed temporarily.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in Limpopo on Saturday demanded that the Department of Basic Education reschedule the planned opening of schools due to concerns over, among other things, a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for both teachers and pupils, the sanitising of schools which it said was still underway and the process was being hampered by the disbursement of moniesfrom the department and the delivery of water tankers for schools who do not have the necessary infrastructure.
The union has advised its members not to return to work until it is safe to do so.
Earlier on Saturday Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced the phased resumption of domestic air travel from June 1. Under the regulations governing South Africa’s level 3 lockdown most industries will reopen on Monday and domestic air travel for business purposes will be permitted.
Mbalula announced that airports will open in three phases, with the country’s four biggest airports resuming operations first. The aiports that will be open for domestic flights from Monday are OR Tambo International in Johannesburg, Cape Town International, King Shaka International in Durban and Lanseria.
The lifting of the curfew also means that minibus, metred and e-hailing taxi services will operate throughout the day, subject to the following loading capacity restrictions:
Minibus taxis remain at 70% loading capacity;
Buses must adhere to a maximum loading capacity of 50%, taking due regard of standing passengers;
e-hailing and metred taxis remain at 50% loading capacity
shuttle, chauffer and charter services remain at 50% loading capacity.