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South Africa’s Health Minister Dr
Zweli Mkhize says new research estimates 12 million people – about 20% of the
country’s population – could already have been infected with Coronavirus.

This is much higher than the
official cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases which is 650,749.

The research is based on examining
seroprevalence – the amount of antibodies present in a patient’s
bloodstream.

In a statement released on Monday night, Dr Mkhize said a decline in cases has raised questions of what level of
immunity might exist in the country.

He explained initial samples “have shown
seroprevalence of between 29 and 40%.”

A national seroprevalence study is
now underway.

Vaccinologist and member of
the Ministerial Advisory Committee, Professor Shabir Madhi, says the true
number of infections may be even higher.

He estimates between 35% and 40% of
South Africans in densely populated areas could already have been infected,
pushing the possible number of infections as high as 20 million.

During the spike in July, between
10,000 and 15,000 new cases were reported daily.

But in the last 24
hours, just 956 new cases were identified.

The death toll is 15,499, while
the recovery rate remains high at 88.9%

President Cyril Ramaphosa is today
meeting with his advisory councils to discuss the country’s ongoing response to
the pandemic.

There is wide speculation that Mr Ramaphosa will this week
announce a further relaxation of lockdown restrictions, with many anticipating
the return of international travel.

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