Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.

HEALTH minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now a total of 459,761 cases of coronavirus in South Africa. This is an increase of 7,232 cases from the 452,529 infections reported on Monday.

The data shows that there are 190 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 7,257 casualties, following 298 deaths reported on Monday.

Dr Mkhize pointed to 287,313 recoveries to date.

A total of 2.8 million tests have been conducted, with 28,424 tests conducted over the past 24 hours, the minister said.

The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 16.7 million people and killed more than 660,000 worldwide since late January, when it was first reported.

Data shows more than 10.3 million recoveries.

The new coronavirus appears to have circulated unnoticed in bats for decades, scientists found.

Horseshoe bats are the most plausible origin of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen, researchers led by Maciej Boni of Pensylvania State University’s Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics said in a study published Tuesday in Nature Microbiology, Bloomberg reported.

The virus’s origins have been at the center of much debate as the pandemic continues to stymie economies.

The World Health Organisation sent experts to China to study the issue this month after US government officials stoked speculation that the pathogen escaped from a Chinese lab.

Tracing the virus’s lineage is crucial early in an outbreak because it can allow health authorities to separate people from the pathogen’s animal host, and later to help avert future health crises.

The researchers warned that other virus lineages in bats could have the potential to spread to humans.

Job losses

The formal non-agricultural sector shed 3,000 jobs between December 2019 and March 2020, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) announced on Tuesday.

According to the quarterly employment statistics (QES), there were 10 231 000 people employed in South Africa’s formal non-agricultural sector in March 2020, compared to the 10 234 000 in December 2019.

The national statistical service said the latest report includes employment up to the quarter ending in March this year and is not indicative of the impact on employment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Job losses were reported in the trade industry with 17,000 in the first quarter. Losses were mainly due to decreases in employment in the retail and wholesale trade sub-industries by 14,000 and 3,000 employees respectively,” Stats SA said.

Meanwhile, employment in the construction industry decreased by 14,000 jobs.

Stats SA said job cuts were also seen in the manufacturing industry with a quarterly decrease of 2,000 employees in March 2020.

“This was mainly due to decreases in employment in the wood and products of wood and cork, except furniture, articles of straw and planting materials, paper and paper products, publishing, printing and reproduction of recorded media and transport equipment sub-industries,” Stats SA said.

Meanwhile, the community, social and personal services industry reported annual growth of 54,000 employees in March 2020 due to increases in employment in provincial departments, local government, national departments, health and social work, universities and technikons.

Also, the business services industry grew by 8,000, mining by 3,000 and the transport industry with 2,000 jobs.

The electricity industry remained unchanged.

“Full-time jobs increased by 18,000 quarter-on-quarter, whilst 37 000 jobs were lost compared to the same period last year,” Stats SA said, adding that part-time jobs declined by 21,000, while 40,000 jobs were added year-on-yea

(Source: BusinessTech)

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