South Africa records its first two deaths, while NICD claims COVID-19 cases have tipped the 1000 mark

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The first official day of the nation-wide lockdown is underway, with scores of South Africans trying to adjust to our new lifestyles over the next 21-days.

As citizens find themselves adjusting to the lockdown, the first day of the national lockdown brought with it a sense of loss.

Minister of Health, Dr Zwelini Mkhize reported this morning, March 27, that South Africa has recorded its first two deaths due to COVID-19.

 “These two deaths occurred in the Western Cape. One at a private hospital and the other at a public hospital,” said Dr Mkhize in a statement earlier this morning.

Following the national lockdown and two deaths, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, claims South African COVID-19 cases have tipped the 1000 mark.

While they explain they will provide further information during the course of the day, they assure they will continue functioning as a reference and surveillance laboratory for COVID-19.

Sinenhlanhla Jimoh, Senior Communications Manager for NICD, explains this will include resolving and troubleshooting indeterminate and other unusual results, as well as providing other reference laboratory functions.

“In addition, the NICD will conduct testing on routine surveillance samples to monitor the possible spread of COVID-19 across the country.”

The NICD explains cases of COVID-19 continue to increase and transmission is ongoing in South Africa. 

With the national lockdown in full effect, the NICD reminds everyone that human behaviour is essential to preventing the spread of the virus.

“Social distancing is one of the main steps that we are currently proposing to add to South Africa’s capacity to significantly restrict COVID-19 transmission, among other interventions such as diligent hand hygiene and correct cough etiquette,” the NICD emphasises.

The application of such preventive measures will need to continue after the 21 days, because the short-term implementation of exceptional steps (for a three-week period) would delay the rise in cases and does not necessarily produce long-term curve flattening.

Be sure to stay at home during the lockdown and do your part in curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Read more: As we prepare for lockdown, who is still expected to work and what is expected of the public?

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