One person has died and four others are in ICU, battling with the coronavirus, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said late on Friday.
It was earlier on Friday announced that two people had died, but one person’s coronavirus test returned negative.
There are a total of 1 170 confirmed cases as of Friday night.
Mkhize said four patients with Covid-19 were in ICU, three on ventilators.
A further 31 patients have recovered.
He noted a rise in local transmissions, with more patients being identified who did not have a travel history.
Mkhize specifically noted the Free State in this regard, with cases concentrated in Mangaung.
“The majority of 61 patients infected arose from the church conference which had five international visitors who subsequently tested positive for Covid-19. Among these were various local church leaders who have since tested positive, thus making their own church members direct contacts.
“These church members have had to be screened and tested. The church leaders and members who were tested have since been put in quarantine,” he added.
A woman in the Western Cape who died in the early hours of Friday morning and who was suspected of being infected with Covid-19, had tested negative for the virus, Mkhize said.
The woman was rushed to hospital in respiratory distress and was hypoxic.
Her clinical picture suggested she had Covid-19 and a test was conducted and came back negative, Mkhize explained.
This has brought the number from two deaths, to one.
Both cases occurred in the Western Cape and as such, Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde, said he has noted this statement by Mkhize.
“The Western Cape has therefore only recorded one death as a result of the coronavirus. We extend our condolences to the families of both women, who have tragically and suddenly lost a loved on,” he said.
Mkhize said the department had noted a significant backlog especially in private laboratories due to increasing workload.
There are five laboratories in academic hospitals, which are Albert Luthuli Hospital, Charlotte Maxeke, Universitas, Tygerberg and Groote Schuur.
Mkhize said the department would extend this to Tshwane Academic, Walter Sisulu and Port Elizabeth.
“We have 7 mobile testing laboratories and in April we will have a total of 47 which will spread all over the country. By the end of April, we will be able to do 30 000 tests per day if required and we continue to source suppliers of test kits from different suppliers so that we can meet the demand.”
On Friday afternoon, the World Health Organisation (WHO) hosted a meeting with ministers of health from around the world.
“One of the important factors confirmed in this meeting is that there is no proven therapy for Covid-19. At this stage, there is ongoing therapeutic research and vaccine trials at different stages of progress,” Mkhize said.
He added there were 50 different candidates for vaccines that were in their early stages.
The WHO have estimated it would take about 18 months to confirm a vaccine.
“South African institutions are also participating in the global research program in search of a solution to the Covid-19, under the guidance of WHO,”” Mkhize said.
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