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Climbing Covid-19 Numbers Force President’s Hand

All public schools must close for a month, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday, with matrics taking a week off, and grade 7s two weeks. “Cabinet has decided today [Thursday] that all public schools should take a break for the next four weeks,” he said. This means that schools will close from July 27 to August 24. He said matric pupils would only take a week off before returning to class on August 3. The announcement comes after Wednesday’s recorded daily Covid-19 death toll of 572 was South Africa’s highest. South Africa’s coronavirus death toll now stands at 5 940, with a majority of the deaths coming from the Western Cape (2 752 deaths), the Eastern Cape (1 345), Gauteng (1 156),and KwaZulu-Natal (477). Meanwhile, the South African Medical Research Council’s latest weekly death report has shown a huge discrepancy between the country’s confirmed Covid-19 deaths and the number of excess natural deaths. An estimated 17 090 more natural deaths than expected between May 6 and July 14 has raised concern about the accuracy of the Department of Health’s reported Covid-19 deaths.