Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced on Friday that 616 deaths had been recorded in the past day.
SA recorded its worst day for Covid-19 infections, with 21,980 cases confirmed in the past 24 hours.
It was also a grim day in terms of fatalities, with 616 deaths — the second highest to date — recorded since the release of Thursday’s figures.
The previous high of 844 deaths announced on January 6 included 452 from the Western Cape, which the health ministry said was “a result of data reconciliation dating between May and November 2020″. There was no such caveat in the announcement of Friday’s death data.
In a statement, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the new cases meant that 1,192,570 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed since the start of the outbreak in March last year. In the same period, 32,425 deaths have been confirmed.
The new infections came from 76,202 tests at a positivity rate of 28.8%. In total, 7,043,680 tests have been completed countrywide in a little over 300 days since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
KwaZulu-Natal remains the virus epicentre, with 85,065 active cases. Gauteng (43,643) has overtaken the Western Cape (42,017) to become the second-worst hit province in terms of active cases. In total, there are 212,226 confirmed active cases countrywide.
Of the newly-reported deaths, 215 were in the Eastern Cape, 146 in the Western Cape, 75 in Gauteng, 72 in KwaZulu-Natal, 55 in the North West, 27 in the Free State, 11 each in Limpopo and Mpumalanga and four in the Northern Cape.
So far, 947,919 recoveries have been recorded at a recovery rate of 79.5%.