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Basics remain best in preventing virus
The Northern Cape MEC for Health, Mase Manopole, during a visit to the Karrikamma High School and the Anderson Primary School in Griekwastad on Monday (08/06) as part of the government’s programme to monitor the re-opening of schools. Photo: Northern Cape Department of Health

On Sunday (07/06) Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa said the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa will this week reach 50 000 and the death toll will rise to over 1 000.

By Monday (08/06) the figure for positive Covid-19 cases already rose to 50 879 – 2 594 cases were added – with 1 080 deaths recorded.

On Monday (08/06) the number of people who tested positive in the Northern Cape has increased to 118, with the latest case a 24-year-old female from the Dawid Kruiper Local Municipality in the ZF Mgcawu District. One Covid-19 related death is recorded in this province. The Frances Baard District holds the most positive cases at 47.

Ramaphosa expressed his concern at the rising figures and said social distancing in public places remains a challenge.

“We need to focus on ensuring that we adhere to social distancing practices because it is through close contact between people that the virus will be spread,” he said.

Prof. Salim Abdool Karim, chairperson of the Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee, emphasised that the basics – wearing a mask, keep social distancing and keep to hand hygiene – are still the most important aspects to prevent the spread of the virus.

Karim said in the winter months it will be a challenge to deal with influenza and Covid-19 as these two viral infections have very similar symptoms.

Dr Kerrigan McCarthy, senior pathologist at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), said we must be patient during this time.

“We are not going to live like this for the rest of our life,” she said. “Be patient and adhere to regulations.” She also emphasised that social distancing is the only tool at our disposal to prevent the transmission of the disease.

On going back to school, Prof. Shaheen Mehtar, infection prevention and control specialist, said it is very important that parents inform their children properly about hand hygiene, the purpose of a mask, to play games without physical contact and to keep their environment and desks clean. Mehtar said once the child is back home, his or her mask must be removed immediately, without touching the inside, and washed.

The Western Cape is still the province in the country with the highest number of cases (33 568) and data compiled in the province shows that 65% of people who died of Covid-19 had more than one comorbidity, with diabetes and hypertension the most prevalent.

According to the national death statistics released by the national Department of Health, 27,2% of the people who died, were aged 60-69, 25% were aged 50-59 and 18,6% 70-79 with 0,5% aged 0-19. Just over 47% were women.

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