A two-day-old baby is the youngest Covid-19 patient in South Africa to succumb to the virus.
On Wednesday, the Health Ministry announced the number of positive Covid-19 cases in SA had increased by 803 to 18 003 in the last 24 hours.
The death toll has also increased to 339.
“Sadly we have recorded the first neonatal mortality related to Covid-19. The baby was two days old and was born prematurely. The baby had lung difficulties which required ventilation support immediately after birth.
“The mother had tested positive for Covid-19 and the child subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 as well,” Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize said.
He said it was important to appreciate the complexities of the underlying condition of prematurity.
“We extend a special word of comfort to the mother of this child and salute the neonatologists, nurses, and all allied and technical personnel who had the difficult task of caring for the neonate to the end,” he said.
A healthcare worker in the Western Cape has also succumbed to Covid-19.
“When Covid-19 claims the lives of the very people who are the bedrock of the national response, we feel the loss in so many ways. I want to send a special tribute to the healthcare workers who continue to serve with honour and compassion, despite the real risks they face in the front line. My heart goes out to the family, colleagues, and loved ones of this compatriot,” he said.
Mkhize said 8 950 people have recovered from Covid-19 in SA. He also said 505 861 tests had been conducted, with 18 252 completed in the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile, as the country prepares to downgrade to level 3 of the lockdown, concerns have been raised about South Africa’s preparedness to relax restrictions.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), South Africa has not met the criteria needed in order to downgrade.
The six criteria released by the WHO includes:
- Controlling the number of transmissions
- That health systems capacities are put in place to test, isolate and treat every case and every contact
- Outbreak risks are minimised in special settings, which includes areas such hospitals.
- Prevention measures be implemented in areas such as workspaces, schools and other areas.
- Import risks have been managed
- Communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to adjust to the new norm.
Mkhize said SA is a long way away from actually falling within the advisable stage in which lockdowns can be relaxed. However, SA had issues like hunger, food security, job protection, the issue of the economy and the issue of constriction to social disruption.
He said those were the issues that have to be taken into account before deciding on the downgrade.
Globally, over 5 million people have tested positive for Covid-19, while over 325 000 have lost their lives and just under 2 million have recovered from the virus.