Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed on Saturday evening that South Africa’s confirmed coronavirus cases had increased to 1187 from 1170 on Friday.
The increase of just 17 was the smallest in a number of days but Mkhize warned that this was not necessarily good news.
“We must outrightly state that these numbers do not indicate a reduction in the number of infections. It is merely a reflection of positive results that were received, verified and ready for today’s reporting,” the minister said.
Gauteng has 533 confirmed cases, Western Cape has 271, KwaZulu-Natal has 156, 68 cases in Free State, Limpopo has 11, Mpumalanga has 10 confirmed cases, North West has six, five cases were reported in Northern Cape and 117 were unallocated.
As of Friday, there had been more than four people fighting for their lives in ICU in hospitals across the country. There had been some good news too, with the Health Ministry confirming 31 people had recovered after being infected with the rapidly spreading virus.
As of Saturday afternoon, there were more than 620 000 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus around the world, with more than 28 000 deaths across the globe. More than 135 000 people had been recovered after being infected and there were just over 450 000 active cases, among them, more than 24 000 people in a critical condition.
South Africa on Friday registered its first coronavirus-related death at a Western Cape hospital when a 48-year-old woman succumbed after being in ICU. She passed away on Friday morning.
Meanwhile, in the streets, South Africa went into its second day of a national lockdown as the police and the army took over the streets. In pockets of the country people continued to head for the shopping centres to do ‘lockdown groceries’, while minibus taxis continued to operate within the restricted times – between 5 am and 9 am and between 4 pm and 8 pm.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said he had deployed traffic law enforcement officials to assist the police in provincial border operations between Mpumalanga and Gauteng, Gauteng and Limpopo, Free State and Mpumalanga as well as Gauteng and the North West.
“The officers were deployed to enforce regulations prohibiting, interprovincial long-distance travelling. Traffic officials were also present at taxi ranks across the country as well as on major freeways, primary and secondary routes,” said Mbalula.
He said at Lembombo and Beitbridge border posts they had to send back buses which were challenging the lockdown as they attempted to cross the border.
“The buses were escorted back to Cape Town. The drivers of two minibus taxis transporting passengers to the Lebombo and Beitbridge border posts, in contravention of the regulations, were also instructed to return to their place of original departure,” he said.
Mkhize has urged South Africans to take the lockdown seriously in a bid to prevent loss of life. He said the lockdown was implemented as the country attempted to ‘flatten the curve’.
“We, therefore, urge our citizens to be vigilant, protect themselves and not unnecessarily expose themselves by making contact with a lot of people. It is important to remain in your home, create a distance between yourself and anyone, including family members, that are unwell,” said the minister.
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