South Africa’s coronavirus cases continue to grow as the country moves into lockdown level 3.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, noted on Monday (1 June), that the country recorded a further 1,674 cases, taking the total to 34,357.
Deaths also increased to 705 (up by 22), while more positively, recoveries were also up to 17,291 – giving a total active case tally of 16,361.
The rising number of cases in South Africa is not unexpected, but comes at a time when the country is opening up its economy and further easing restrictions on movement under lockdown level 3.
While this runs counter to World Health Organisation recommendations that lockdowns only be eased once country’s show a decline in the number of new cases, health experts have said that the lockdown would provide no further benefit, and has effectively ‘flattened the curve’ in the country.
South Africa is now moving to a new phase in its response to the pandemic, where the focus will shift to hotspots and targetted interventions across districts and industries.
Here, government will assess 52 districts across the country at 14-day intervals to determine which areas need interventions to slow down the spread of the virus. Hotspots identified so far (where there are more than 5 cases per 100,000) largely comprise the country’s biggest metros.
The Western Cape remains the Covid-19 epicentre in South Africa, with 22,567 cases – accounting for two-thirds (65.7%) of all cases in the country.
The province also boasts a high recovery rate or 51%, but still has more active cases (11,136) than anywhere else.
Mkhize was in the province on Monday to assess its readiness to deal with the pandemic and expected increase in hospitalisations in the coming months.
The province said it has a hotspot plan, which the minister was briefed on, and also has a quarantine and isolation facility sponsored by Old Mutual, as well as the Brackengate site where work is currently underway on a 300 bed temporary hospital.
Regionally, the City of Cape Town is still overwhelmingly the hardest hit by the outbreak, with the metro accounting for 80% of the cases in the province.
Even taking recoveries into account, the metro still has 7,981 active cases – higher than any other district in the country – making up almost half of total active cases.
As at 1 June 2020 Gauteng accounts for 4,231 or 12.3% of all Covid-19 cases in the country.
The province has shown a significant recovery rate of 48%, with 2,030 recoveries to date.
Regionally, the City of Johannesburg accounts for the biggest portion of cases in the province, with the latest district data showing the metro accounting for 46% of all cases.
This is followed by the City of Ekurhuleni (21%), and the City of Tshwane (12%).
The sub-district with the most cases is CoJ E, which comprises Alexandra, Sandton, Houghton, Orange Grove and Wynberg. Factoring in recoveries, it’s Coj F – comprising Johannesburg central and Johannesburg South – that has the most active cases.