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The Department of Health reported 188 more deaths related to Covid-19 as it declared the surge over, but explained the higher figure is due to a delay in data and the verification of post-mortem swabs.

“There has been a two-week delay in the reporting of Free State deaths as the province collated data from the various districts and verified this against home affairs data,” a statement from Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Monday.

“This is part of efforts to improve the quality of data by aligning information from facilities with home affairs statistics. Data from post-mortem swabs also had to be collated and verified.”

This was in line with SA Medical Research Council recommendations, and the data is considered up to date.

The latest update states there were three deaths from the Eastern Cape, one from KwaZulu-Natal, two from Gauteng, four from the Western Cape and 178 from the Free State.

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This brings the total number of Covid-19-related deaths to 16 586 out of 671 669 confirmed cases, with 903 new cases being detected.

Recoveries are 604 478, which translates to a recovery rate of 90%.

Mkhize said South Africa was considered to be past the surge of cases.

“We have now confirmed, both with the NICD and World Health Organisation surge ream reports that we are now past the surge and that our epidemiological curve has demonstrated a plateau for several weeks.

“Therefore, based on the conduct of the South African pandemic, we have re-evaluated our national response and identified new challenges that require new approaches.”

He said the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) on Covid-19 was not disbanded, but strengthened to prevent onward transmission of the virus and behaviour change to avert a second wave.

It will retain many of the experts from the original clinical-biomedical MAC, including incumbent chairperson Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Professor Marc Mendelson, Professor Sthembiso Mkhize, Professor Rudo Mathivha and Professor Nombulelo Magula, among others.

“On behalf of the nation, government thanks all members who have and continue to serve on all the Ministerial Advisory Committees – the captains who have steered us through the Covid storm and kept us afloat.”

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While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.