South Africans should brace themselves because the country is still traversing a storm that is gathering, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize warned the nation on Friday.
Mkhize gave the warning while releasing the latest statistics on the impact of the novel coronavirus.
"It is important for us to keep remembering we are still traversing a storm that is gathering and the storm is not over," Mkhize said.
The minister said the total number of Covid-19-related deaths in the country had risen to 24, with 73 028 tests having been conducted. The number of confirmed cases now stands at 2 003, while 410 people have recovered so far.
- Gauteng: 801 positive cases, 3 deaths, 157 recoveries;
- Western Cape: 541 positive cases, 6 deaths, 152 recoveries;
- KwaZulu-Natal: 412 positive cases, 12 deaths, 15 recoveries;
- Free State: 94 positive cases, 3 deaths, 61 recoveries;
- Eastern Cape: 68 positive cases, 3 recoveries;
- Limpopo: 24 positive cases, 13 recoveries;
- Mpumalanga: 20 positive cases, 6 recoveries;
- North West: 18 positive cases, 3 recoveries;
- Northern Cape: 15 positive cases.
The youngest victim so far was aged 41, but the minister pointed out that the majority of deaths were people who had pre-existing ailments, and the real cause of death may have been that pre-existing condition.
"We always want to make a point that some of the conditions they are suffering from could have compromised their lives and even caused death in the absence of Covid-19. One patient was in stage 4 of cancer and could have passed away anytime. People with co-existing diseases are compromised quicker," said Mkhize.
He conveyed his condolences to the families of the deceased and shared his appreciation for all dedicated essential services workers, such as healthcare professionals.
"Their efforts to help and save our nation will always be appreciated. They are in our thoughts and prayers. We call on society to offer support to healthcare professionals who are at the forefront of fighting the pandemic," Mkhize said.