The number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in South Africa has risen to 240.
This is according to a statement released by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Saturday afternoon.
This means that cases of the virus have risen by 38 from Friday.
The highest number of new cases was observed in the Western Cape, which recorded 18 new people who have been infected with the virus.
The province was followed by 16 cases in Gauteng, 3 in KwaZulu-Natal, and the first case in the Eastern Cape.
The majority of cases was identified among persons over the age of 30, while the youngest case was a six-year-old.
70% could be exposed
On Friday morning, Mkhize said that between 60% and 70% of South Africans are likely to be affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Speaking at a media briefing in Pretoria, Mkhize said that while most South Africans will get the virus, only about 20% will be seriously ill.
“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.”
According to a report in The Star, South Africa is potentially only days away from a complete national shutdown.
Wits professor Alex van den Heever told the publication that if the number of new daily cases were to increase to between 100 and 200 per day, it was likely that an escalation would be needed in the prevention strategy.
This escalation, as was the case in China, Italy and France, includes a national lockdown with strict self-isolation rules.