South Africa’s COVID-19 cases surpass 150,000

The cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa has reached 151,209, with 6,945 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Tuesday.

A further 128 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic have been recorded since Monday, bringing the death toll to 2,657, the minister said in his daily report.

The mortality rate stood at 1.8 percent, while the number of recoveries was 73,543, translated into a rate of 48.6 percent, Mkhize said.

Earlier in the day, the minister urged South Africans to prepare for continued spikes in confirmed cases and deaths.

This means that another hard lockdown “may become necessary” to curb the pandemic, he told Talk Radio 702.

Since May 1, South Africa has gradually eased lockdown regulations from level 5 to level 3 following a five-week hard lockdown enforced on March 27.

Another hard lockdown could be considered if the situation warrants it, Mkhize said.

“I wish I could say otherwise. We have warned that the surge will come, (especially) in the winter months. I’m afraid the numbers are increasing and we need people to be aware and take all the necessary precautions to try and protect ourselves,” he said.

He voiced special concern over Gauteng Province, which has seen rapid rises in both confirmed cases and related deaths in recent days.

As of Tuesday, Gauteng recorded 42,881 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 216 deaths, only second to the Western Cape, the epicenter of the outbreak, which reported 62,481 cases and 1,859 deaths