'A sigh of relief': Mkhize reports decline in COVID-19 cases, deaths

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, on Saturday 12 September, said government is "cautiously but optimistically" breathing a sigh of relief as COVID-19 infections and deaths continue to decline. 

On Friday 11 September, Mkhize said announced that the total number of COVID-19 infections stood at 646 398. Deaths increased by 113, bring the total death toll to 15 378. He also said 574 587 people had made a recovery.


On Saturday morning, Mkhize released some good news regarding the pandemic and the trajectory it's taking. 

"Today, we cautiously but optimistically breathe a sigh of relief as we continue to see our detected cases, hospital admissions, deaths and even excess deaths declining," he said.  

"Our recovery rate is now almost at 90% and our mortality rate has remained stable at around 2%," he added. 

Mkhize said mothers affected by COVID-19 have also given birth to healthy babies. 

"They are breastfeeding and physically bonding with their children, laying foundations for wholesome upbringing and solid building blocks for a healthy and prosperous society," he said. 

Government has always maintained that lockdown levels can only be lowered and restrictions eased once hospital admissions, infections and deaths decrease. Now that government is seeing the steady decline they've been hoping for, it may point to a move to Level 1 lockdown. 

Earlier in the week, Mkhize said a move to Level 1 lockdown should happen sooner rather than later. President Cyril Ramaphosa also announced that he would be addressing the nation in the coming week. 


Based on recent COVID-19 figures, Mkhize just earlier this week, said Level 1 lockdown should be a possibility. 

"We never actually knew what to expect, and the reality is that we can now safely say we are over the surge. There were days we used [to] have 11 000 people who were positive and now today we see numbers around 2 000," said Mkhize. 

"The sooner we can get to Level 1 the better. The sooner we have a normal economy the better. It is better for the country," he said. "We are hoping South Africans will understand that to get there, we have to make sure we are just as cautious in level two so that there is no resurgence," he Mkhize. 

Ramaphosa, during a briefing with the South African National Editor's Forum (Sanef) on Wednesday evening, also hinted at a new lockdown level. 

"This is where we will need advice from the medical advisory committee, as well as, from our net joints, which is the real engine of the monitoring our coronavirus approach, so we will be giving consideration to all that and watch this space, next week as far as where we end up as a nation as far as this is concerned," he said. 

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