South African health minister says COVID-19 infection rate stabilizing

South African Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
South African Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.

South Africa’s Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has said that the COVID-19 infection rate in the country appears to be stabilizing as fewer daily confirmed cases are being reported.

For the last few days, daily confirmed cases in South Africa have hovered around 3,000 compared to about 10,000 just a week ago.

The recovery rate has also gone up to 75 percent.

Mkhize however, cautioned against drawing any conclusions from the significant decline in the daily COVID-19 infection rate.

He said while the news was encouraging it does not mean that South Africans can let their guard down. He urged them to continue observing health regulations such as wearing masks, keeping social distance and washing hands with soap or sanitizer.

Mkhize indicated that the lockdown regulations might be further relaxed to ramp up economic activities.

As of Tuesday, South Africa reported a total of 566,109 confirmed cases, 2,511 of which reported in the previous 24 hours.

He said the National Command Council is discussing different suggestions and proposals in this regard.

Also on Wednesday, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to end the hard lockdown, including the “irrational” bans on tobacco and alcohol.

The tourism industry, schools, and borders need to be fully opened, the curfew lifted, and the state of disaster ended, the party said in a statement.

“South Africa’s daily COVID-19 infection rate is declining, taking pressure off our public health system,” DA leader John Steenhuisen said.