The government has announced there are now 1,187 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa, with one confirmed death.
Gauteng leads the number of confirmed coronavirus cases with 533, followed by the Western Cape on 271, and KwaZulu-Natal on 156.
“We must outrightly state that these numbers do not indicate a reduction in the number of infections,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.
He said it is merely a reflection of positive results that were received, verified and ready for reporting.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases explained it is actively cleaning COVID-19 patient data to ensure that the information is verified and accurate.
“Data cleaning is required to conduct deduplication of contents and to correct details of patients in order to determine the most effective public health intervention,” it said.
“As such, figures may not always add up sequentially due to the activities being performed with regard to data cleaning and quality assurance of the dataset.”
It said as of 28 March, the number of COVID-19 cases increased by 112 – bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,187.
Mkhize added they have noted with concern a number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in health workers who work in private and public hospitals. This includes doctor and nurses.
“We mention this because health workers are in the frontline of this battle. They are exposed not only to their families but to the patients who they are meant to treat,” he said.
“We must inform our people that South Africa received a very limited stock of flu vaccines. These are pre-ordered a year in advance,” the Health Minister added.
“At the time the country placed its orders, we had not anticipated this COVID-19 pandemic. This means that as it stands, our flu vaccines are understocked.”
He said the government has engaged with the pharmaceutical industry and it became clear the distribution of this vaccine has to be rationalised and prioritised.
“We have therefore taken a decision that health workers in the country will be given priority in receiving the flu vaccine,” he said.
This is precipitated by the fact that the country cannot afford to have them sick, especially as the flu season approaches.
“This is one of the major lessons that we have learnt from countries that have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mkhize said.