Big jump in coronavirus cases in South Africa

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now 10,652 confirmed cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

This is an increase of 637 cases compared to yesterday.

Mkhize added that the total number of deaths attributed to the coronavirus in South Africa is now 206 – an increase of 8 over the previous day.

“We are saddened to report 12 new deaths,” Mhize said.

“We express our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and appreciate the health workers who treated these patients.”

14,731 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, which brings the total number of tests conducted in the country to 356,067.

Mkhize said that there have been 4,357 recoveries in South Africa.

The table below provides an overview of the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths per province.

Province Case Numbers Deaths
Western Cape 5,621 106
Gauteng 1,971 22
KwaZulu-Natal 1,372 43
Eastern Cape 1,356 22
Free State 135 6
Limpopo 54 3
Mpumalanga 63 0
North West 50 1
Northern Cape 30 0

Western Cape hotspot

The Western Cape contributes over half of the total number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa.

The severity of the outbreak in the province is clearly illustrated by rising number of cases in the province relative to other provinces.

The reason for the rapid increase in cases, Mkhize has said, is because of cluster outbreaks in certain areas.

The cluster outbreaks and the early onset of local transmissions are what led to the higher COVID-19 numbers in the province.

“Cluster outbreaks are happening in commercial settings like factories and retail shops,” said Mkhize.

He said these cluster outbreaks can happen anywhere, adding there is nothing the Western Cape is doing differently which is causing the higher numbers.

Professor Alex van den Heever, chair of social security at the Wits School of Governance, added that good screening and testing in the province is another contributing factor.

He said there is insufficient screening and testing for COVID-19 in other provinces.

Van den Heever said the low increases reported in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, and the Free State are unlikely.

Instead, he suggested it is “in all likelihood attributable to poorly implemented screening, testing, and tracing strategies”.

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Big jump in coronavirus cases in South Africa