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LIVE BLOG: 1,505 positive coronavirus cases, two more deaths in SA

Members of the National Command Council in the Economic Cluster are briefing the nation on economic matters as contained in the revised lockdown regulations gazetted on 2nd April 2020.

"When it comes to modelling. I always fear when we state a projection it is taken as fact, so I avoid these. For planning, it is a good tool, but for media, it can be distorted when reporting."

"On what we have asked the provinces to do. Everything has been put in place. When we started we didn’t know that the outbreak would be highest in Gauteng, Western Cape and Free State, this virus is a moving target."

"We must address the issue of additional beds, so we are prepared."

"We have indicated as well that whilst we have a lockdown it’s too early to make any postulations on what should happen regarding the lockdown."

"We have approached the President to request reinforcement from a number of countries such as Cuba and China."

"We had an opportunity to ask fairly pertinent questions for example there are differences between us and them (we have a number of citizens with TB and HIV)."

"They indicated that 20% of their patients become serious and of that 5% are admitted to ICU. They also indicated the importance of testing and screen at an early stage."

"Earlier we had a very interesting and informative discussion with experts from WHO and in Shanghai. They took us through the case definition, how they dealt with the testing and manifestation of the virus in patients. They also went into detail on inpatient treatment."

"We would like to convey our condolences to the families and friends of these individuals. We would also like to thank the health workers who are working tirelessly every day."

The key is ensuring the lockdown works and we flatten the curve especially ahead of the flu season.

Mkhize says it is too early to make any more postulations about the lockdown. 

Mkhize says they’ve identified areas of where community-based screening will commence.

Two more deaths have been recorded:
80-year-old male and 81-year-old female,both from KZN.

The male died on 1 April, the female on 2 April. Neither travelled anywhere. They were admitted in Durban.

Total now is: 1,505
43 new cases recorded today.

Mkhize says he is satisfied with how the province is tackling the virus.

In the meanwhile, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize is giving an update on the latest coronavirus numbers. He is in the Western Cape.

He says they had to change the operating times of public transport because many people would be left behind and shops and banks would open at 9am.

Government remains responsible to ensuring public transport does not become an area that contributes to the spread of the virus, Mblaula says.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula is next. He says his department has taken stock of their measures from the beginning of the lockdown. 

They have had consultations with the transport industry.

Transport is one of the highest risk areas in the spread of coronavirus.

Mbalula says they cannot implement the lockdown in the style of the apartheid state of emergency.

"We are under no illusion that obeying the regulations is the contribution of law-abiding South Africans who want to see humanity succeed."

"It is unfortunate that others see this responsiveness as lowering the bar... we accept this critique."

"This is not the time to put profits ahead of at the safety of people," Mantashe says.

Unannounced visits were conducted to 3 collieries in Mpumalanga. These 3 supply Eskom. Government went to assess compliance with rules to curb the spread of coronavirus. It was found that mines are not as prepared to stop the spread.

Mines supplying coal to Eskom continue operating as normal, Mantashe says.

Minister of Energy Gwede Mantashe is up next.

Recyclables are not allowed to be collected and waste pickers can make a living, Creecy says. Government will apply for relief aid for waste pickers.

Environmental minister Barbara Creecy says fishers in the Northern and Western Cape may travel to catch snoek.

Foreign nationals are allowed to trade if they are in SA legally.

Government is working on an economic relief package for informal traders.

Minister of Small Business Khumbudzo Ntshaveni says registering on the SME database is not registration for funding. Since that database opened, over 81, 000 SMMEs have been registered.

Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla says personal protective equipment for health workers is a priority for government. The challenge has been the availability because of global shortages as it is procured from China.

Government will centralize procurement of protective material - consignments will start arriving next week.

ICYMI: The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs said that it would speak to the Western Cape government about its decision to allow the sale of cigarettes.

Cogta to speak to WC govt over move to allow cigarette sales during lockdown

On Thursday night, Police Minister Bheki Cele clarified that the ban on selling cigarettes was a national ban, meaning that all provinces must comply.

Following in the footsteps of other government departments, the economic cluster has revised a few lockdown regulations, including the operation of informal trade.