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Deadliest day for SA as the country records 844 deaths in 24 hours


Deadliest day in SA as the country records 844 Covid deaths in 24 hours

07 January 2021

Staff Reporter/PretoriaLIVE

Pretoria – SA had its deadliest day since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country, setting grim new records in terms of both fatalities and new cases, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said.

Mkhize announced that 844 deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours, along with 21,832 cases. Of the deaths, 452 were in the Eastern Cape alone, according to “data reconciliation”.

“The previous high for single-day deaths was 572 on July 22, and the previous daily high for cases was the 18,000 infections recorded exactly a week ago on December 31”.

“In total, 31,368 Covid-19 related deaths have been recorded and 1,149,591 total infections have been confirmed. The new cases come from 70,060 tests, at a positivity rate of 31.1%”, Mkhize said.

Of the newly recorded deaths, 452 were in the Eastern Cape, 149 in the Western Cape, 65 in KwaZulu-Natal, 46 in the North West, 12 in the Free State, 11 in Limpopo, eight in Mpumalanga and five in the Northern Cape.

Explaining the massive spike in Eastern Cape deaths, Mkhize said it was, “a result of data reconciliation dating between May and November 2020”.

“This includes analysis of community cases where post-mortem swabs were taken for Covid testing and analysis of clinical records where the the diagnosis was unconfirmed at the time of demise. The national department of health is engaging the province to investigate the details of the reporting backlog,” he said.

Overall, there are now 188,984 active cases across the country. Most of them are in KZN (76,993), followed by the Western Cape (41,356) and Gauteng (35,727).

To date, 929,239 recoveries have been recorded at a recovery rate of 80.8%.

Meanwhile, funeral palours as well as motuaturies are now highly overwhelmed with the number of  covid -19  cases . Undertakers in South Africa are running out of coffins as the death toll continues to rise while the country battles a new fast spreading strain of coronavirus. Funeral directors are pinning their hopes on the government obtaining a vaccine as they battle exceedingly high demand for coffins, policy cancellations and increasing numbers of burial staff losing their lives to the deadly virus.6

Increasing numbers of burial staff are losing their lives to coronavirus.

South Africa funeral directors are struggling to keep up with demand as the deaths continue to rise.

The president of the National Funeral Practitioners Association of South Africa, Muzi Hlengwa, stressed the mounting struggle funeral parlours face.

“It is something you have never seen before. We have run out of coffins, we have run out of space at the mortuary,” Mr Hlengwa told SABC News.

“Some funerals have had to be postponed because there is no burial space. We even have cremations done at night.”

Staff have told how bodies are left “piling up”, as they are forced to wait at cemeteries for graves to be dug.

The pandemic has put immense pressure on the death-care industry, as cases across South Africa continue to rise.