The number of COVID-19 infections in South Africa has risen to 51, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Sunday.
The number rose by 13 from Saturday’s figure of 38.
The recent cases were recorded in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
Gauteng now has 24 cases while the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have, respectively, confirmed 14 and 12 cases. Mpumalanga has recorded only one case.
In a statement, the Health Ministry said Mkhize and Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla held an urgent meeting with all provincial MECs and Heads of Department for Health on Saturday night.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the latest situational analysis of each province as more cases of COVID-19 cases are being confirmed.
Mkhize said: “In our engagement, it became clear that the role played by contact tracers is very important and their capacity needs to be strengthened. The NHC agreed that in order to minimise the risk of further spread of the virus, contact tracing must be done within 48 hours.”
Cabinet is today expected to meet to discuss government's approach to the outbreak.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said while the country continues to see an increase in COVID-19 positive cases in South Africa, there is currently no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is circulating in South Africa’s population.
“However, the status of COVID-19 transmission is increasingly likely to shift based on trends found in other parts of the world. We call on all South Africans to continue to follow COVID-19 preventive measures such as meticulous hand hygiene and cough etiquette,” said the institute.
The NICD, a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, has tested 1476 for SARS-CoV-2 – the causative pathogen for COVID-19.
The NICD said it has decided that doctors no longer need to contact the NICD for approval for testing as long as they apply the case definition before testing.
“The NICD will test the submitted samples as long as the required supporting documents accompany the sample (specimen submission form and PUI form) which is available on the NICD website: http://www.nicd.ac.za/diseases-a-z-index/covid-19/.”
The breakdown of new cases per province is as follows:
- A 60 year-old male who had travelled to Iran.
- A 36 year-old male who had travelled to the UK.
- A 54 year-old male who had travelled to Switzerland.
- A 27 year-old male who had travelled to the UK.
- A 21 year-old female who had travelled to Germany.
- A 53 year-old female who had travelled to Germany.
- A 29 year-old male who had travelled to Switzerland.
Western Cape: 5
- A 35 year-old female who had travelled to Germany.
- A 42 year-old female who had travelled to Switzerland and the UK.
- A 50 year-old male who had travelled to the Netherlands.
- A 33 year-old male who had travelled to Switzerland.
- A 35 year-old male who had travelled to Austria.
- A 34 year-old male who had travelled to the UK.