Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa has hit 1,170 – an increase of 243 cases since Thursday’s report.
The latest numbers come at the end of South Africa’s first day under lockdown, and off the announcement of the first deaths as a result of the virus in the country.
According to minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, it has been clarified that only one of the two deaths announced earlier in the day are confirmed to be as a result of the virus, with the other death a suspected case.
Alan Winde, premier of the Western Cape called it a very sombre day. He said that the coronavirus can affect any person, noting that the deceased included a 28 year-old female, and 48 year-old female.
He called on South Africans to follow the lockdown orders, and to adhere to the heightened rules.
The number of confirmed cases are expected to increase over the next weeks as government moves to rapidly ramp up testing capacity and identify hard-hit areas.
Globally, coronavirus cases have climbed to 566,064, with deaths at 25,422, and 129,357 recoveries.
For the next three weeks South Africans will be forced to remain at home, as businesses across the country shut down, and only essential services and employees have been exempted.
For the period of lockdown: every person is confined to his or her place of residence, unless strictly for the purpose of performing an essential service, obtaining an essential good or service, collecting a social grant, or seeking emergency, life saving, or chronic medical attention.
Movement means entering or leaving a place of residence or, in the case of people nor ordinarily resident in the Republic, their place of temporary residence while in the Republic.
The health department said that the most effective way to curb the spread of the virus is by reducing human contact – the main way it is transmitted – and things like a lockdown have worked in countries like China to significantly reduce the number of daily infections.
Academics have warned that without containment measures, millions of South Africans would be infected, with thousands needing intensive care, which the country’s healthcare system cannot handle.
A lockdown is an extreme, but necessary measure to prevent as many deaths as possible.