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Infectious Diseases

28 March 2020

Coronavirus morning update: SA's first death, plenty of lockdown arrests, and Italy's unwanted record

Your latest coronavirus news: SA recorded its first coronavirus-related death; as 55 people were arrested on day 1 of lockdown; and Italy has an unwanted record.

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN SA

Cases update: 

The latest number of confirmed cases is 1 170, as the country recorded its first death related to the virus.

So far, 28 537 tests have been conducted.

There have been 31 recoveries, according to latest data provided by the Health Ministry.

Other key numbers:

Total number of patients in hospitals (both public and private): 55

Total number of patients in ICU : 4

Total number of patients in ventilation: 3

READ MORE |All the confirmed cases of coronavirus in SA

Latest news:

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.

READ MORE | Coronavirus in SA: 1 dead, 4 others critical

Fifty-five people were arrested for contravening regulations on the first day of the national lockdown.

The 21-day lockdown came into effect at midnight, restricting movement to fight the spread of Covid-19.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said the police's phones were "abuzz" with complaints of people breaking the law.

He was speaking at an inter-ministerial address on Friday.

Working with these "good citizens", Cele said 55 people were arrested on Friday.

Five people were arrested in the Free State; 20 in Gauteng – six in Alexandra; seven were arrested in KwaZulu-Natal; 10 in Limpopo; and two in the Western Cape.

READ MORE | 55 people arrested on first day of national lockdown - Cele

German nationals stuck in South Africa because of the lockdown on travelling will be repatriated on Tuesday, after the German government intervened.

Speaking at an inter-ministerial media briefing on Friday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the evacuation would take place on Tuesday.

Earlier on Friday, News24 reported that a group of 60 German tourists had been placed in quarantine after one tested positive for Covid-19.

READ MORE | German tourists stuck in SA to be repatriated after their govt intervenes

The Department of Transport is reconsidering some of the new regulations that came into effect on Friday, after some incidents during the first day of the national lockdown.

Speaking at a media briefing on Friday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the taxi industry had raised concerns regarding regulations that state taxis could not exceed 50% of their legal capacity.

He added more concerns were raised about the limitation of cargo movements to only essential cargo, and all cargo would now be allowed passage.

The department was also in the "process of issuing new directions covering transitional arrangements relating to driver's and learner's licensing issues", Mbalula said.

READ MORE | Transport Dept reconsidering lockdown regulations on taxis, cargo, licensing

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 485 000, while deaths are more than 26 800.

Seven countries, China, Italy, Spain and Germany, the United States and all have more than 50 000 cases.

Italy has almost 9 000 deaths, nearly triple that of China where the virus first broke out.

READ MORE | All the confirmed cases worldwide

Latest news:

Italy recorded a shocking spike in coronavirus deaths on Friday with 969 new victims, the worst daily record for any country since the pandemic began.

The infection rate however continued its downward trend, with the civil protection agency reporting nearly 86 500 confirmed cases in Italy - a 7.4% increase, down from around 8% in previous days.

READ MORE | Coronavirus: Italy sets disturbing record after nearly 1 000 die in a single day

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that he is self-isolating after testing positive for the Covid-19 virus.

"Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus," he said on Twitter.

"I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government's response via video-conference as we fight this virus."

"Be in no doubt that I can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus," he added in the video message.

READ MORE | British PM Johnson tests positive for Covid-19

France is extending by two weeks until at least 15 April its stay-at-home order for all people to curtail the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Friday.

President Emmanuel Macron had ordered people in France to stay at home from 17 March for two weeks for all but essential tasks. But the scale of the epidemic in the country had made it inevitable that the lockdown would be extended.

"In agreement with the president, today I'm announcing the renewal of the confinement period for two more weeks," Philippe said at the Elysee presidential palace.

"Obviously this period will be extended again if conditions require it," he added. The additional two weeks from 1 April means it would now expire on 15 April.

READ MORE | France extends virus lockdown

HEALTH TIPS(as recommended by the NICD and WHO)

• Avoid contact with people who have respiratory infections 

• Maintain social 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