S. Africa sees highest daily surge in COVID-19 cases

FILE PHOTO: A health worker checks a man's temperature during a door-to-door testing in an attempt to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Umlazi township near Durban, South Africa, April 4, 2020. REUTERS/Rogan Ward/File Photo
Checking temperatures in a Durban township in South Africa.PHOTO/AP

South Africa on Thursday reported 318 more COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the highest daily surge since the country recorded its first case on March 5.

The newly-added cases brought the tally in the country to 3,593, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.

Meanwhile, 10 new deaths were reported, bringing the death toll to 75, he said.

“We are observing a steady increase in the number of positive cases. While this concerns us, we are also pleased that the intensified community screening and testing campaign is assisting in finding more COVID-19 positive patients,” the minister said.

A total of 143,570 tests have been conducted nationwide, up by 9,796 from Wednesday, Mkhize said.

Massive testing “allows us to take the necessary actions such as isolation, quarantine or hospitalization if required,” he said.

The epidemiologists also continue to analyse these trends in order for the country to better understand the impact of the outbreak as it unfolds, said the minister.

“It is also notable that today the Western Cape has surpassed Gauteng’s confirmed cases and now has the highest number of COVID-19 positive cases in the country,” Mkhize said.

With 1,279 cases, Western Cape has become the epicenter of the pandemic, followed by Gauteng with 1,252 and KwaZulu-Natal with 807. Western Cape also has 28 deaths, the highest number among all nine provinces.

“A further analysis is being done as we are observing outbreak clusters in the Western Cape,” Mkhize said.

The Northern Cape, Limpopo and Free State do not have any new cases, which illustrates the effectiveness of treatment and management of positive patients in the three provinces, said the minister.

Nationwide, 1,473 recoveries have been recorded, he said.