For the first time, South Africa has seen more than 1 000 coronavirus infections being confirmed in a 24-hour period.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced a record 1 160 new cases in a statement released late on Sunday night, which takes the total number of cases in the country to 15 515.
He also reported three more fatalities linked to the contagious coronavirus (in the Eastern Cape), noting that the national death toll now stands 264. However, the total did not include seven further deaths in the Western Cape, which would take the national death toll to 271.
The surge in Covid-19 cases beyond the 15 500 mark, comes as the country reported 5 500 new infection over the past week alone. On May 10, Mkhize reported that South Africa had 10 015 confirmed cases and 194 virus-related deaths.
Most of the deaths and new infections are in the Western Cape, with the province now accounting for 9 294 confirmed cases and 156 deaths. Of the 1 160 new infections reported on Sunday night, 890 were from the Western Cape.
“We remain concerned about the developments in the Western Cape, with [its] total cumulative cases now comprising almost 60% of the national [number of] cumulative cases,” said Mkhize
“The new cases from [the] Western Cape comprises 76% of new cases from the past 24-hour cycle,” the minister added.
Worth noting is that the Western Cape has performed more Covid-19 tests, relative to its population size, when compared to other provinces. According to Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, as of Sunday, the province had performed 90 750 tests.
Gauteng has undertaken the most tests in SA overall (last reported at over 100 000), however, it has a much larger population and concentration of people compared to the Western Cape. Nationwide figures showing the provincial breakdown of testing has not been made available.
Mkhize, however, reported another record day in terms of testing on Sunday night, noting that 21 341 Covid-19 tests had been done countrywide over the last 24 hours. This takes the total number of tests done in South Africa to 460 873.
The minister revealed that there were now 7 006 virus-linked recoveries, over half of which had occurred in the Western Cape (3 521).
The graphic below shows a breakdown of the number of Covid-19 cases, deaths and recoveries amongst SA’s nine provinces.