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Staff Reporter

Only 22 COVID-19 cases remain active in the Free State after the province reported on Wednesday that six more people had recovered from the deadly disease.

The latest figures indicate that the province has now recorded a total of 130 confirmed coronavirus cases since the disease was first reported in the country at the beginning of March.

However, six more people have recovered in the Free State, bringing the number of recoveries to 102 from the previous tally of 96.

Up to now, six people have succumbed to COVID-19, leaving the province with only 22 active cases.

Authorities and scientists have, however, urged people to remain vigilant as the disease, which causes acute respiratory complications among a host of symptoms, is yet to reach its peak in South Africa.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize this week warned that while the country’s hospitalisation and case mortality rates for COVID-19 remained below the global averages, it was important for the country to limit the spread of the infection so that the health system is not overwhelmed.

“As winter sets in, we will be confronted with the additional burden of influenza and other pneumonias, bronchiolitis in children, exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive airways disease and winter related trauma, like burns injuries,” he said.

While Free State health MEC Montseng Tsiu believes the stringent measures implemented by her department have helped the province to avoid a potential COVID-19 catastrophe, she still wants people to continue acting responsibly and protect themselves from contracting the coronavirus which causes COVID-19.

“Our collective efforts will ensure that we beat any challenge that stands in our way from delivering the best possible health outcomes for all our people,” she said.

There is also “considerable uncertainty” among some of the country’s leading scientists who have told News24 the effectiveness of the government’s interventions to curb the spread of the coronavirus are yet to be fully realised.

A senior medical epidemiologist at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Dr Harry Moultrie, told the online news service that parts of the country’s healthcare system will be overwhelmed as a result of an expected “rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases over the next few months”.

South Africa’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases stood at 7 808 as of Wednesday.

About 3 153 people had recovered from the disease while 153 had lost their lives.

This left the country with 4 502 active cases.

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