Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says between 60-70% of South Africans will be infected by coronavirus, but only 20% would be severe cases.

During the latest update on the global pandemic that has swept the world on Thursday evening, Mkhize said it’s possible based on infection rates in countries like Germany that South Africa could see a steep rise in infections over the coming days and weeks.

Earlier in the day President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in South Africa had jumped to 150, from 116.

Mkhize added that he expects the number of positive cases to rise above 200 by Friday.

He said thousands of South Africans would need to be tested every day, adding that the country’s capacity was about 5000 per day. This will increase to 15 000 by next week, and to more than 30 000 by mid-April.

Mkhize added that South Africa has a complicated health situation, like high rates of HIV, TB, as well as inequality. He said the country may not be able to simply apply strategies to contain the virus seen in other countries, like mass lockdowns.

“We are going to have to face up to a number of lessons from various countries… but we can behave in a way that can change the course of this infection.”

The real war right now is the tracing of contacts. “We have recruited close to 2000 tracers who are coordinating the system so that we are ultimately able to do this quickly,” he said.

He added that that they were now seeing patients recover in previously reported Covid-19 cases.

“We are in the process of conducting further confirmation tests and medical examinations then we will formally inform the public on the numbers of recoveries. At this stage, most of the patients are recovering well.”


Article written by

Nidha Narrandes

Nidha Narrandes is a food-obsessed travel addict with 21 years of journalism experience. Her motto - Travel. Eat. Repeat. She is happiest on a road to nowhere without a plan. A masterchef at home, she can't do without chilli - because chilli makes the world a tastier place.