Friday, 25 December 2020 22:12

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says that cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases in South Africa has risen to 983 359.

This is an increase of 14796 new cases in the last 24 hours.

The Christmas infection rated was confirmed in a statement by Mkhize.

A cumulative total of 6 378 007 tests have been conducted, representing an increase of more 52 223 tests since the Christmas Eve report.

Mkhize added that 293 more people passed away on Friday, with 115 of these being in the Eastern Cape. 

Total deaths now stand at 26 276 and total of 830251 people have recovered from the virus.

Meanwhile Mkhize said that banning travel between UK and SA is an unfortunate decision. Such a decision would require more scientific evidence than is currently available.

"There is no evidence that the SA variant is more pathogenic than the UK variant to necessitate this step, "he said.

He said that on 14 December, the UK reported to the WHO that a variant had been identified and traced back to 20 September 2020 in Kent, South East England- approximately a month be-fore the South African variant appears to have developed.

This variant has a mutation occurring at a site common with the South African variant (the 501), although they are two completely independent lineages, the minister said.

The UK variant is thought to be driving the second wave that the UK are experiencing currently.

Mkhize said he is also concerned that there is rhetoric developing that the 501.V2 variant is more transmissible than the the UK variant or may potentially cause more serious morbidity and mortality.

Compiled by Lehlohonolo Lehana.