South Africa recorded its biggest daily spike in Covid-19 infections on Thursday, with 318 new cases and 10 more deaths being recorded.
According to a statement by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, the number of positive cases had increased to 3 953, while the death toll rose to 75.
The increase in cases, which he said was concerning, is the result of the intensified community and screening campaign that is taking place across the country.
“This allows us to take the necessary actions such as isolation, quarantine or hospitalisation if required,” Mkhize said.
“The epidemiologists also continue to analyse these trends to in order for the country to better understand the impact of the outbreak as it unfolds.”
By Thursday evening, 3 633 037 people have been screened, while 24 174 of those have been referred for testing.
To date, 143 570 Covid-19 tests have been conducted. Data shows 89 501 of the tests have been conducted in the private sector, while the public sector has tested 54 069 people.
Western Cape becomes epicentre with most confirmed cases
Meanwhile, the Western Cape has overtaken Gauteng as the new epicentre with 1 279 confirmed cases. As of 23 April, Gauteng recorded 1 252 cases, while KwaZulu-Natal has 807.
“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.
“A further analysis is being done as we are observing outbreak clusters in the Western Cape. This means that a large number of people who operate and interact in the same area [e.g. factories, shopping centres] are testing positive,” he added.
Both the Free State, with 106 recorded cases, and Northern Cape, with 16, have not shown an increase of confirmed cases since Wednesday.
Death toll and recoveries
With the highest daily spike in the death toll since the outbreak began, the Western Cape has become the province with the most recorded fatalities – 28 deaths.
Of the 10 new reported deaths, six were in the Western Cape, two were recorded in KwaZulu-Natal, one in Gauteng and one in the Eastern Cape.
KwaZulu-Natal has recorded 27 deaths, while eight people have died in Gauteng.
“We convey our condolences to the families of the deceased and thank our health workers who treated the deceased patients,” Mkhize said.
Gauteng is still the leader in recoveries, with 843 people, the Western Cape had 236 and 241 people have recovered in KwaZulu-Natal.
Recoveries are measured by people who initially tested positive for the virus, but later test negative for it.