10,000 Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, as Mkhize warns of 'exponential' growth
This is the first time since August 1 that the 10,000 mark has been breached
SA recorded 10,008 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours for the first time since August 1.
SA's highest ever single-day increase in cases was on July 24, when 13,944 new infections were recorded.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday night that the new cases were at a positivity rate of 21%, more than double the “ideal rate” of 10%. There are now 883,687 total cases countrywide.
Mkhize said cases were “growing exponentially”.
He warned that additional restrictions could be put in place if the rise in cases continues.
“We continue to assess the entire country and, where we identify risks, we will engage and make a determination if further containment measures or restrictions are required.
“Today alone we’ve seen a significant increase in the daily numbers, with the Western Cape continuing to lead and now breaching the 3,000 mark for the first time this week. Seven other provinces reported increases today, while the Eastern Cape reported a decrease in their new cases today,” said Mkhize.
The minister also reported another 166 Covid-19 related deaths. Of these, 89 were in the Eastern Cape, 31 in the Western Cape, 25 in KwaZulu-Natal, 10 in Gauteng, nine in the Free State and two in Limpopo.
In total, 23,827 deaths have been recorded across the country.
The breakdown of new infections in the past 24 hours according to each province was:
- Western Cape — 3,233 cases;
- KwaZulu-Natal — 2,743 cases;
- Gauteng — 1,795 cases;
- Eastern Cape — 1,619 cases (the only province to show a decline in new infections, having recorded 1,956 cases on Tuesday);
- North West — 182 cases;
- Limpopo — 154 cases;
- Mpumalanga — 146 cases;
- Free State — 88 cases; and
- Northern Cape — 56 cases.
Mkhize pleaded with South Africans to follow the health guidelines, and also stood by the government's decision to shut certain beaches.
“We wish to commend all South Africans who heeded government’s call and complied with regulations by not going to the beaches. We know that although this has taken away time for enjoyment from our people, it will certainly contribute to curbing the spread of the virus. Our beaches are known for overcrowding during this time and people tend to be carefree.
“We urge people who will be going to the beach tomorrow and on days permitted, to ensure that it does not become a day of regret where people get infected and lives are lost. We plead with you to be responsible and protect yourself.
“We also note the various legal challenges that have been brought against government regarding the recent regulations. As health, we stand by the recommendations made to the [national coronavirus command council] which are well substantiated by evidence.
“We have every intention to oppose these applications as the department, and government’s mandate to protect the lives and health of our people remains paramount. We dare not neglect this responsibility by omitting to take the necessary actions to protect the health care system from being overwhelmed and collapsing, as we’ve seen in other countries,” said Mkhize.