Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says the Western Cape has already seen an increase of COVID-19 positive cases of people who have not traveled abroad – which has led to an upsurge in the number of admissions to hospitals.


Briefing the media in Cape Town on Friday, Mkhize said the department, therefore, is pushing to roll-out more testing especially in densely populated areas such as townships and informal settlements.

He said they have already identified these sites and additional beds to augment the existing capacity as the number starts to peak to manage the outbreak.

The country has recorded two more deaths as the government continues to fight COVID-19 which has infected 1 million people worldwide.

The two new deaths include an 81-year-old female and an 80-year-old man – both from KwaZulu-Natal – and have no history of travelling anywhere – abroad or locally. The Minister said there were two more suspected COVID-19 related deaths that were yet to be confirmed.

This brings the number to seven deaths since the outbreak in South Africa and 1 505 infections to date.

While the government is working tirelessly to flatten the curve, Mkhize said he was still concerned that the numbers are “slowly” increasing.

“We’re sad at the passing of these particular individuals,” Mkhize told the media.

He said the number of new cases which are up by 43 since Thursday was due to limitations of the reactive testing that will soon change, he said.

“We’re at the point [where] we need to scale up the testing,” he stressed.

He is optimistic that the country will put a big dent on reducing the number of infections as lockdown continues. South Africa has also reduced the number of visitors, airlines and closed the ports and quarantined those who have been to areas of the epicentre of the pandemic, especially from the Western countries.

Mkhize also thanked the healthcare workers who are consumed by the task of saving the lives of others daily. –

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