NATIONAL NEWS - As of Friday, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases is 723,682, with 1,912 new cases identified since the last report, the health department has announced.
66 new deaths have also been recorded:
21 from Eastern Cape, 2 from Gauteng, 7 from the Free State, 8 from KwaZulu-Natal, 2 from Mpumalanga, 18 from North West, 4 from Northern Cape and 4 from Western Cape.
This brings the total number of Covid-19 deaths to 19, 230. Of the 66 deaths reported today, 10 were reported to have occurred in the past 24-48 hours.
“We extend our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the health care workers that treated the deceased patients,” said the department.
Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
France locks down
France began a new month-long lockdown to try to slow a second wave of the virus.
Unlike the previous national shutdown, schools and childcare facilities will remain open alongside essential shops and markets.
Factories and building sites will also still be allowed to operate although homeworking has been made “obligatory” for all jobs where it is possible.
Half of UK under orders
More than 11 million people in England are now effectively under lockdown, with a toughening of local restrictions across several regions likely in coming days.
More than half the United Kingdom’s population is now under some kind of virus restriction as the death toll from the second wave rises.
Nearly 45 million infections
The virus has infected more than 45.1 million people and claimed at least 1.18 million lives worldwide since it first emerged in China late last year, according to an AFP tally on Friday at 1100 GMT based on official sources.
The United States is the worst-affected country with 228,675 deaths, with a record 90,000 new infections Thursday.
It is followed by Brazil with 158,969 deaths, India with 121,090, Mexico with 90,773 and Britain with 45,955.
EU hospital aid
The EU is stumping up 220 million euros ($256 million) to help transfer Covid-19 patients from one country to another and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.
Euro economies suffer
France is likely go into a deeper virus-sparked recession this year than previously thought despite a strong surge in the third quarter, with gross domestic product (GDP) likely to drop by 11 percent overall, the government said.
Germany and Italy face similar worries despite Italy recording a 16.1 bounce-back in the third quarter and Germany recording growth that was just under half that level.
Overall eurozone GDP was up by 12.7 percent in the third quarter — an historic comeback after an 11.8 percent fall in the previous three-month period owing to the first wave of lockdowns.
Serb Orthodox leader dies
The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, Archbishop Amfilohije, has died of Covid-19 at the age of 82, the church said.