Coronavirus News Africa

Coronavirus: New cases spike by 437 as death toll rises to 138

The number of positive Covid-19 cases has risen by 437 to a total of 7 220, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize announced on Monday.

South Africa has also recorded seven more deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 138.

The cases continue to rise by more than 400 cases a day as the country ramps up its testing capacity.

A total of 257 541 tests have been conducted to date, with 11 794 tests done in the past 24 hours, the department said.

Recoveries were sitting at 2 746 as of 2 May.

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The Western Cape, which is now the epicentre of the virus, has the highest number of deaths, followed by KwaZulu-Natal.

In a statement, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said the province had 3 451 cases as of 13:00 on Monday. 

Winde said the province, through its active case finding approach, had ramped up its testing significantly and 19 619 tests have been conducted since 27 April.

Most of the tests were conducted through the public sector.

Winde said the increase in testing in the province over the last two weeks was now starting to have an impact on the capacity of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) in the province and countrywide in processing all the tests timeously.

“This has impacted on the release of test results at regular intervals. We will take this matter up with the president and the national minister of health, to request additional testing capacity to be added to the country’s NHLS as we can expect testing to increase further countrywide. There is also a need for testing options that provide results much quicker.”

Winde added that an increase in the number of positive cases was being seen, which showed that transmission was among residents in communities and that the curve was continuing to climb at a faster rate. 

He added that the transmission had been initiated through cluster outbreaks, centred on places which were deemed essential during Level 5 of the lockdown: like supermarkets.

“Our data has shown growing transmission in specific geographic areas, particularly in the City of Cape Town and Witzenberg,” he said. 

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