The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus or Covid-19 in South Africa now stands at 709. That number stood at 554 on Tuesday. This is a 27% increase. However, Mkhize acknowledged that it sometimes takes longer for test results to become known and that the increase is not always a true portrayal of how many more people have lit up in recent days.

Dr. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in an interview with the SABC on Wednesday morning that the number of cases of Covid-19 in Gauteng increased by 64 overnight. The Western Cape, in turn, reported 61 more cases, while KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State reported 11 and 15 new cases respectively. Mkhize said the department expects more cases to be reported.

The minister said the Free State, especially the Mangaung area, is a concern at this stage. This comes after five foreigners recently attended a church meeting of about five days in this area. The foreigners came separately from America, France and Israel and showed symptoms before their return and finally tested positive for the virus. They came in contact with about 300 people during the event. The department is now haunting to track down those people and test Covid-19. “It’s already starting to create an epicenter,” Mkhize explains.

In Gauteng, most cases were reported in Johannesburg and in particular Sandton. Fewer cases have been reported in Ekhurhuleni and Tshwane. In the Western Cape, most cases were reported in Cape Town.

According to Mkhize, three doctors have tested positive for the virus to date. These doctors are from Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Free State. The minister explained, however, that the doctor from Limpopo had recently traveled and was therefore thought to have contracted the virus abroad and not through the treatment of patients.

Two patients are currently being treated in a hospital emergency room. No deaths have been reported at this time.

The minister explained that the department is conservatively dealing with the number of patients in South Africa recovering from Covid-19.

According to Mkhize, a total of five patients have already been declared virus-free. This means that they no longer show symptoms and tested negative when tested for the virus again.

Mkhize explained that although many of the other patients recover and some do not even show symptoms, they still test positive for the virus and are therefore still contagious.

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