Infectious Diseases

05 July 2020

Coronavirus morning update: Numbers from Gauteng hospitals, and arrests over Covid-19 relief funds

Your latest coronavirus news: More than 2 000 Covid-19 patients fill Gauteng hospitals; and five people have been arrested for Covid-19 UIF irregularities.


Cases update: 

The latest number of confirmed cases is 187 977.

According to the latest update, 3 026 deaths have been recorded in the country.

There have been 91 227 recoveries.

So far, more than 1.79 million tests have been conducted, with 46 925 new tests.

READ MORE | All the confirmed cases of coronavirus in SA

Latest news:

As Covid-19 cases continue to increase in Gauteng, as of 3 July, a total of 2 232 patients are currently hospitalised in both private and public facilities in the province.

According to the Gauteng provincial coronavirus command council, as of 1 July, there were 644 patients in intensive care units (ICU) or high care units in public and private hospitals in Gauteng.

The report further said that 151 of those patients are currently ventilated, while a further 493 patients are on oxygen.

Cumulatively, 4 455 patients were admitted to Gauteng hospitals for Covid-19 since the pandemic reached South Africa's shores.

On Thursday, News24 reported that Gauteng's command council said there were 8 301 beds available specifically for Covid-19 patients in private and public hospitals

The 8 301 available beds include paediatric beds, ICU/high care beds, and general beds.

Additional beds are also being created in public hospitals in the province.

READ MORE | More than 2 000 Covid-19 patients fill Gauteng hospitals

Five Gauteng police stations were temporarily closed on Friday due to positive Covid-19 cases.

These were Dunnottar police station in Nigel, as well as Norwood, Laudium and Carletonville and Olifantsfontein police stations, police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said.

At the Dunnottar police station, two members tested positive. The Community Service Centre will be operating at the Community Family Church next to Laerskool Dunnottar, Peters said.

Two members also tested positive at Laudium police station. The Community Service Centre will be operating at the Laudium Civic Centre building.

One member tested positive at each of the other three police stations.

The buildings will be undergoing decontamination and the community will be informed when the station will be operational again, said Peters.

READ MORE | Gauteng police stations close as Covid-19 cases continue to soar

"They refused to allow me to view my husband's body at the hospital mortuary due to Covid-19 regulations. Now I buried the wrong person."

These were the words of a heartbroken Eastern Cape widow who exclusively told News24 that due to a bungle at Uitenhage Provincial Hospital's mortuary, the body of her 79-year-old husband was mixed up with that of someone else.

As a result, she had to organise two funerals in the space of four days this week.

Retired nurse Nomsa Noda, 67, who worked at the same hospital where her husband died, said she was shocked when an undertaker, accompanied by her pastor, visited her on Wednesday to tell her she had buried the wrong person.

Her husband Vukile Noda, 79, died of Covid-19 on 22 June after he was admitted to the hospital seven days earlier.

Noda claimed the mix-up happened when her husband's name tag was put on the body of another person, who also died of Covid-19.

READ MORE | Family buries stranger after Covid-19 body mix-up

Five people have been arrested for Covid-19 Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) irregularities.

The investigation, registered at Brooklyn police station, resulted in the arrest of two women and three men for irregularities linked to the UIF Covid-19 relief fund.

The five individuals are aged between 25 and 68, said Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale.

"The suspects were traced to various residences in Soshanguve, Atteridgeville and Mamelodi. Five vehicles, including an Evoque, were recovered from the scenes, as well as other items suspected to have been bought with the monies which weren't meant for the suspects," said Mogale.

READ MORE | Covid-19 relief funds: Five arrested for alleged fraud, theft


Cases update:

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

Late on Saturday night, positive cases worldwide were close to 11.16 million, while deaths were almost 528 000.

The United States had the most cases in the world - more than 2.83 million, as well as the most deaths - more than 129 000.

READ MORE | All the confirmed cases worldwide

Latest news:

The Catalonian government on Saturday announced that the Segrià region of Spain, which is home to more than 200,000 people, will enter an indefinite period of lockdown after a spike in Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations.

"We take a step back to protect ourselves and we will take all the decisions to stop the contagion," Catalonia President Quim Torra said, according to The Independent.

Police checkpoints will be used to enforce the lockdown order, according to the BBC. Catalonian leaders ruled out the idea of "selective confinement," opting instead for the entire lockdown order, according to The Independent.

On Friday, a field hospital was set up outside the Lleida's Arnau de Vilanova hospital in the region's capital city of Lleida, the BBC reported. It has the capacity to treat up to 105 additional patients if needed.

According to the report, there are 21 reported people being treated in local hospitals with six requiring intensive care treatment.Spain locks down a region of 200 000 people indefinitely after a spike in Covid-19 cases

READ MORE | Spain locks down a region of 200 000 people indefinitely after a spike in Covid-19 cases


The Covid-19 epidemic in the Western Cape is at least a few weeks ahead of South Africa’s other provinces. As a result, doctors in the province’s Covid-19 wards have generally seen more Covid-19 patients over a longer period than their peers in other provinces.

The province’s designated Covid-19 hospitals have also had more experience in adapting to the unique challenges posed by the pandemic.

On Thursday afternoon, the South African Medical Research Council hosted a webinar on which some leading doctors in the province shared some key lessons from the last few months. We highlight seven that stood out.

Working together, both within hospitals, between facilities and across provinces is one of the most important pieces of advice for tackling Covid-19, according to Professor Ivan Joubert, who heads up Critical Care at Groote Schuur Hospital.

“I can’t overstate the importance of having teams… and this is not just healthcare workers; we need to make sure hospital and provincial management are actively engaged on those teams and are playing for the team,” he said.

READ MORE | Covid-19: Seven lessons from the Western Cape

Scientists have highlighted an existing measure that could help curb the spread of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, using a form of ultraviolet light.

While germicidal ultraviolet light has proven to kill airborne pathogens like coronaviruses, it’s incredibly hazardous to human skin and eyes and thus can only be used for decontaminating empty spaces.

But research has shown that far-UVC light (a particular wavelength of ultraviolet light – 207 to 222nm) is just as effective at killing airborne coronaviruses, and if calibrated correctly isn’t strong enough to penetrate human cells, making it safe to use in crowded public spaces indoors.

Published in Scientific Reports by a research team from Columbia University Irving Medical Centre, they found that using filtered excimer lamps set to 222 nanometres effectively inactivated two airborne coronavirus strains that are very similar to the one that causes Covid-19.

These two strains account for 15–30% of respiratory infections a year.

Sticking to current regulatory exposure limits, the lamps inactivated about 90% of the viruses in about 8 minutes, 95% in about 11 minutes, 99% in about 16 minutes and 99.9% in about 25 minutes.

READ MORE | Far-UVC light can kill 99.9% of airborne coronaviruses in 25 minutes, a study shows

HEALTH TIPS (as recommended by the NICD and WHO)

• 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.

Image credit: Getty Images