Health minister Zweli Mkhize has voiced his concern over the spread of Covid-19 in the Western Cape, South Africa’s coronavirus epicentre.
Dr Mkhize said that new cases topped 1,160 in a 24 hour period, the highest daily infection tally to date, taking the national total to 15,515. The country’s previous highest total was recorded on Saturday – 831 new infections.
“We remain concerned about the developments in the Western Cape, with the total cumulative cases now comprising almost 60%, and the new cases from the Western Cape comprising 76% of the new cases from the past 24 hour cycle,” the minister said.
He said that the total number of deaths has now reached 264 – an increase of three deaths from 261 reported before.
As many as 156 of the total deaths have been reported in the Western Cape, representing around 60% of the the total to date.
The minister said that 460,873 tests have been conducted to date – 21,314 over the past 24-hours, while he highlighted a total of 7,006 recoveries to date.
Western Cape premier Alan Winde, has maintained that his province conducts substantially more tests than others, leading to higher reported cases of infection.
He has also indicated that the province has very stringent reporting standards and that deaths elsewhere in the country may not have been recorded as coronavirus-related.
In a statement on Sunday, Winde reported that over 3,500 people in the province have recovered from Covid-19 infections.
“The rate of recovery in Witzenberg now stands at 70% of all cases, and in the Western region, half of all recorded cases to date have recovered. These are especially promising numbers as both of these areas are considered hotspots in the province,” he said.
“The majority of people will only experience mild symptoms and 90% of patients will not need to be hospitalised. While many will recover without complications, we must not underestimate the impact of the COVID-19 virus, especially on the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.
“The infection curve in the Western Cape is moving faster, and we are seeing higher rates of community transmission,” the premier said.
Currently, the Western Cape death rate stands at 1.68% of the total caseload. This is in line with international norms, it said.
“Our data also shows us that the overwhelming majority of Covid-19 positive people who have died in the province have had one or more comorbidities,” Winde said.
Winde said that the majority of the province’s cases have been reported in Tygerberg (1,446 cases), while Khayelitsha (1,225 cases), and Klipfontein (1,148 cases) have also seen spikes in new infections.
Encouragingly, Tygerberg has seen 576 recoveries, Khayelitsha 479, and Klipfontein 409 cases.
The below graphic provides more detail on the areas which have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus in the province:
Unallocated cases refers to those that have not yet been assigned to a specific Provincial sub-district.