Coronavirus morning update: The latest on testing in SA, UK PM in ICU, and more on symptoms

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Coronavirus morning update: The latest on testing in SA, UK PM in ICU, and more on symptoms

The latest number of confirmed cases is 1 686.

The country has also recorded 12 deaths.

Gauteng, the Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal account for most of the cases in the country.

South Africans aren’t unaccustomed to queueing in a drive-thru, ordering and then waiting for food. But a drive-thru station that conducts Covid-19 tests has to be a first. Then again, we’re experiencing many firsts since the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus hit South African shores just over a month ago.

HealthInsite, a corporate wellness and occupational health service provider, in collaboration with Mullah Labs, have since 26 March been conducting drive-thru Covid-19 tests at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.

The mobile testing station intends to operate throughout the nationwide shutdown, in order to improve access and reduce the risk and spread of infection, while contributing to “flattening the curve”.

A nurse at the testing station who could not be named, dressed from head to toe in white protective gear, told News24 that a person must meet certain criteria before they can get tested.

All prospective patients are screened at the first stop – to check if they meet the test criteria.

Testing for Covid-19 in South Africa will, hopefully, be massively increased in the next few weeks. A machine called the GeneXpert, currently used to diagnose tuberculosis (TB), will be used by the state to test for the coronavirus.

Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize has expressed concern that not enough testing is being done, GroundUp reports.

“Our testing criteria are reactive and restrictive. This means we don’t have a true picture,” he said previously in his daily briefing on the Covid-19 epidemic.

South Africa had conducted over 50 000 tests by 4 April. This compares well to, say, Brazil, which has conducted about the same number of tests but has a much bigger population. But our capacity is far behind Australia (nearly 300 000 tests), South Korea (over 460 000 tests) and most European countries

South Africa’s economy may contract by between 2% and 4% this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the SA Reserve Bank has said.

In its latest Monetary Policy Review, the central bank said there was also limited scope for an economic rebound in 2021, with growth unlikely to exceed 1%.

Speaking on a webcast briefing on Monday afternoon, Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago said forecasting had become “nightmarish” given the many moving parts at play.

In its earlier GDP projection in March, the bank said that economic growth was likely to decline by 0.2% this year. But this was before President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown to curtail the spread of the coronavirus so that South Africa’s health infrastructure does not become overwhelmed.

“South Africa was already in recession prior to the Covid-19 shock, and the situation has become more challenging since,” it said.

A fake video relating to Covid-19 which has emerged, claiming testing kits are possibly contaminated, has been condemned by the Eastern Cape Department of Health.

In the video, which has been widely distributed on social media, a man – whose name is known to News24 – calls on South Africans to refuse Covid-19 testing.

With an ear bud stuck up his nose, he claims he is giving South Africans “the most important message you will ever hear in your entire life”.

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