Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that between 60% and 70% of South Africans are likely to contract the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to a report by News24.
Speaking at a media briefing in Pretoria, Mkhize added that while most South Africans will get the virus, only about 20% will be seriously ill.
The minister predicted that the number of positive cases will reach over 200 on 20 March.
The latest official update states there are now 150 South Africans who have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus [see Coronavirus in South Africa – Who is infected and where they live].
The government will increase its testing capacity going forward, with the total number of tests performed each day reaching 30,000 by the middle of April.
Currently, the government only has the capacity to test 5,000 people per day.
“We are in a battle now,” Mkhize said. “This enemy is rapidly spreading and we must mobilise our forces to target this.”
“We want to make sure that we reduce the fatalities, we can’t just have these numbers rising uncontrollably.”
Mkhize said that the government needs to increase its presence and testing footprint in poorer areas, stating that currently, there is a “no symptoms, no testing” policy in place.
Emergency price controls and case count
The government recently published new regulations aimed at combating price gouging due to the panic-buying of necessities in the country.
These regulations aim to protect consumers against unfair and unreasonable commercial practices during the coronavirus outbreak.
Dominant companies are prohibited from charging excessive prices to the detriment of consumers. Should price increases occur, they must be in line with the increase in the cost of providing the product or service.
Retailers may also not increase the net margin or mark-up on the listed products above the average margin of these products in the three-month period before 1 March 2020.