Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that South Africa now has 311,049 confirmed COVID-19 cases – a daily increase of 12,757.
Mkhize has also revealed that there were 107 new COVID-19 related deaths over the last 24 hours, taking the total to 4,453 casualties.
The rapid increase in COVID-19 infections means South Africa is now eighth on the list of countries with the most confirmed cases.
South Africa has more confirmed coronavirus cases than Spain, the UK, Italy, Germany, France, and China.
If the current growth trend continues – and there is no reason to believe it will not – South Africa will join the United States, Brazil, India, and Russia as one of the countries with the most COVID-19 infections.
While the rapid increase in coronavirus cases is not unexpected, South Africa’s response to this growth phase is unique.
Other countries implemented a lockdown when cases began to rise and waited for the number of COVID-19 cases to go down before they eased their lockdown restrictions.
South Africa has gone in the opposite direction by easing restrictions in many areas as the spread of the virus gains momentum.
Some of the eased restrictions include allowing religious and business gatherings of up to 50 people and allowing taxis to increase their capacity to 100% for short local trips.
Professor Salim Abdool Karim, chairperson of the Health Minister’s COVID-19 advisory group, said this places South Africa in a unique position.
Instead of increasing restrictions during the growth phase of the virus to reduce its spread, South Africa is allowing more movement and larger congregations of people.
This fuels the spread of the virus across the country, as the number of COVID-19 infections is nowhere close to reaching its peak.
COVID-19 cases and deaths by country
The table below provides an overview of the confirmed number of COVID-19 cases and deaths by country (see the full list here).