For the first time in more than three months, more than 3,000 new Covid-19 cases were recorded in SA in 24 hours.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday that 3,221 new cases were recorded — the first time this mark has been breached since February 10 when 3,159 cases were recorded.
The new cases came from 42,073 tests at a positivity rate of 7.65% — a rate which has been steadily rising in recent days. The department has previously expressed concern when the positivity rate — which is the number of positive results against the number of tests taken in a 24-hour period — reaches the 10% and 12% marks.
The passing of the 3,000-mark comes after the health department has been warning of a looming third wave of Covid-19 infections.
Mkhize said on Thursday that there were now 1,605,252 cumulative infections recorded across SA since the outbreak of the coronavirus in March last year.
He also reported that there were 44 new Covid-19 related deaths recorded in the past 24 hours, taking the total death toll from the virus past 55,000. There have now been 55,012 Covid-19 related deaths recorded countrywide since the outbreak.
Mkhize took the opportunity to wish the Muslim community well after the end of the holy month of Ramadan — and encouraged adherence to Covid-19 protocols as celebrations took place.
“We celebrate Eid at a time when the world is faced with a major pandemic of devastating consequences to all. In SA we are seeing a resurgence that could turn into a full-blown third wave. Having been through two devastating waves, we must work together to prevent history repeating itself.”
“During Ramadan, our Muslim brethren have exercised discipline by abstaining from food, drink and other pleasures from sunrise to sunset. Their resilience has been strengthened by regular daily prayers, all of which makes this month so special.”
“I therefore appeal to the Muslim community and all South Africans to draw from this strength as we continue to celebrate our religious holidays responsibly. As we come together with our loved ones, let us not forget the rules of social distancing, wearing of masks and limiting the size of our gatherings,” he said.
SA recorded more than 3,000 new Covid-19 infections in one day for the first time since early February. File picture.
Image: ALON SKUY