Over 200 South Africans have died in a 24-hour period from the coronavirus pandemic, making it the highest daily death toll since the outbreak of the disease in the country in March, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Thursday night.The death of 216 COVID-19 patients was also accompanied by the cumulative number of 324,221 infections following the conduct of 2,324,923 tests to date, Mkhize said, adding that the country’s total death toll had now claimed 4,669 lives.
Nationally, there were 13,172 new infections reported in the last 24-hour cycle, with 165,591 COVID-19 recoveries at the countries hospitals, he added.
Among the country’s nine regions, Gauteng Province remained the epicentre of the disease with 86 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours, followed by the Western Cape Province’s 47 fatalities, according to the minister.
Apart from claiming the lives of South Africans, the pandemic has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s economy – with three million jobs lost to it since March, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a virtual address to his compatriots.
To mitigate the loss of these jobs, Ramaphosa said that his government had come up with a plan to salvage the damage done by the lockdown.
“We are committed to focusing our efforts on economic recovery. We have set aside US$6 billion for job protection and creation, and are working on a massive employment drive through infrastructure and public employment,” the president said.
Ramaphosa said his government’s infrastructure projects would “unleash” a lot of economic activities and create more jobs.
“We’ve got projects that are ready. We’ve also got projects on the public employment side. We will recalibrate the experiential work programme to ensure we’ve got a much more robust public employment process,” he added.