advertisement

Infectious Diseases

Updated 05 April 2020

Coronavirus morning update: More than 1 million cases, and 50 000 deaths worldwide

Your latest coronavirus news: Cases in SA increase, as the number tops 1 000 000 worldwide and global deaths related to the virus are now also more than 50 000.

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN SA

Cases update: 

The latest number of confirmed cases is 1 462.

Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape account for the majority of cases.

READ MORE |All the confirmed cases of coronavirus in SA

Latest news:

Seven people have died since the coronavirus pandemic reached South Africa less than a month ago, based on what is known since Thursday, April 2.

Five deaths have been confirmed by the national Department of Health, while a sixth case, Professor Gita Ramjee, was confirmed by the science community on Wednesday.

A seventh, a moulana in KwaZulu-Natal, was confirmed by his family and the burial service, also on Wednesday.

READ MORE | Coronavirus deaths: These are the casualties of the pandemic in South Africa

There are 393 positive cases of Covid-19 in the Western Cape, with an increase to 22 people in hospital and seven receiving intensive care, Premier Alan Winde said on Thursday. 

"We have got enough hospital beds, enough ICU beds and enough quarantine facilities right now," said Winde. "But we've got to be preparing for what the impact is going to be in a week, two weeks, and two months' time?" 

Winde held a digital press conference on Facebook with community safety MEC Albert Fritz, the province's head of health Dr Keith Cloete and Dr Kerrin Begg, of the Colleges of Medicine of SA.

READ MORE | Covid-19: Western Cape now has 7 people in ICU, Khayelitsha has 2 cases

The police will crack down on businesses selling cigarettes in the Western Cape, Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Thursday. 

Speaking in Pretoria at an inter-ministerial briefing, Cele added the ban on cigarettes applied countrywide.

This after the DA-led Western Cape government lifted it on Wednesday.

READ MORE | Cele warns Western Cape: 'Selling cigarettes is not allowed'

The government will use cellphone towers to trace people who have been in contact with those who tested positive for Covid-19.

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said this was to assist the Department of Health in tracing people who came into contact with those who tested positive for the virus.

She added the department had sought permission from cellphone network operators to access the geo-location of people who had tested positive.

READ MORE | Government to use cellphone towers to track all Covid-19 contacts

A whopping 1 443 people have been arrested by KwaZulu-Natal authorities for contravening regulations during the national lockdown.

"I wish to commend our law enforcement agencies for arresting 1 443 people in the province since 27 March, which demonstrates that we are serious about clamping down on those who are contravening the regulations," Community Safety and Liaison MEC Bheki Ntuli said on Thursday.

He added the arrests related to "various offences and some offenders have been released on bail".

READ MORE | KZN authorities arrest 1 443 for lockdown offences

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE REST OF THE WORLD 

Cases update:

For the latest global data, follow this interactive map from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.

Positive cases worldwide are now more than 1 015 000, while deaths are more than 53 000.

The Unites States has nearly 250 000 cases, while Italy and Spain both have more than 100 000.

Italy has close to 14 000 deaths, and Spain now as more than 10 000.

READ MORE | All the confirmed cases worldwide

Latest news:

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain would "massively increase testing" amid a growing wave of criticism on Thursday about his government's failure to provide widespread novel coronavirus (Covid-19) screening.

In a video message posted online on Wednesday night from Downing Street, where he has been in self-isolation since announcing on 27 March that he had contracted the virus, Johnson said testing was the "way through".

"We're also massively increasing testing. As I have said for weeks and weeks this (testing) is the way through," Johnson said.

READ MORE | Under-fire PM Boris Johnson says UK will 'massively increase testing'

The coronavirus pandemic sent global air passenger demand plunging 14% in February, marking the steepest decline in traffic since the September 11 attacks in 2001, the global aviation association said Thursday.

Fresh data from the International Air Transport Association showed that air passenger demand, measured in the number of kilometres travelled by paying passengers, nosedived 14.1% globally last month compared to February 2019.

"This was the steepest decline in traffic since 9/11," IATA said in a statement, adding that the slump "reflected collapsing domestic travel in China and sharply falling international demand to/from and within the Asia-Pacific region, owing to the spreading COVID-19 virus and government-imposed travel restrictions."

READ MORE | Global air passenger demand sees 'steepest decline since 9/11'

The coronavirus outbreak has left New York City's ambulance services overwhelmed, causing a new directive not to transport some heart attack sufferers to the hospital.

The New York Post obtained a memo that was sent out to the city's Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) on Tuesday, saying that if they can't get a pulse from a cardiac arrest patient at the scene, then they shouldn't transport them to the hospital as is normally advised.

The directive was sent out by the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York, which oversees the city's ambulance service. The organisation did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

READ MORE | Covid-19: New York paramedics told to leave heart attack sufferers at home if they can't get a pulse

LATEST RESEARCH

As the number of coronavirus-related deaths climbs, we now know that it's deadlier than seasonal flu, especially given the large number of deaths within a short period of time.

But a new study in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases shows that only about 0.66% of those with Covid-19 will probably die – a number lower than earlier estimates.

This new rate includes undetected, asymptomatic cases. The previous death rate, without these cases included in calculations, was calculated much higher at 1.38%.

READ MORE | Coronavirus death rate lower than previously thought, study suggests

The concept is simple, yet elegant: Use fever readings from thermometers to create a database that can show public health officials whether physical distancing is curbing the spread of coronavirus.

A San Francisco medical technology company has been doing just that, and the latest news is heartening: The number of fever readings have dipped as Americans stayed at home and away from each other.

Up to 250 million people in 29 states are now under some collection of physical distancing measures, the New York Times reported.

READ MORE | US 'fever tracker' suggests physical distancing is already working

When most people think of the new coronavirus, they imagine symptoms such as a dry cough and high fever. But new research out of China shows that a minority of cases appear with gastrointestinal symptoms only.

In about one-quarter of patients in the new study, diarrhoea and other digestive symptoms were the only symptoms seen in mild Covid-19 cases, and those patients sought medical care later than those with respiratory symptoms.

"Failure to recognise these patients early and often may lead to unwitting spread of the disease among outpatients with mild illness, who remain undiagnosed and unaware of their potential to infect others," said a team from Union Hospital and Tongji Medical College in Wuhan, China, the original epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE | Mild coronavirus cases often appears with only gastro symptoms

HEALTH TIPS (as recommended by the NICD and WHO)

• Avoid contact with people who have respiratory infections 

• Maintain physical distancing – stay at least one metre away from somebody who is coughing or sneezing

• Practise frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as your hands touch many surfaces and could potentially transfer the virus

• Practise respiratory hygiene – cover your mouth with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Remember to dispose the tissue immediately after use.

READ MORE: Coronavirus 101 

Image credit: Getty Images