An announcement dropped close to midnight is hardly the clear and concise communication we were hoping to receive from the government during such a critical time. But, assuming the policy of better late than never, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that there are 23 new coronavirus cases to report in SA.
The figures, released late on Tuesday night, reveal that 85 people have contracted the COVID-19 strain in this country, since the first case was announced 12 days ago. There are still no fatalities to report, but sadly, a pair infants aged two and three have tested positive for the disease in the Western Cape. A 71-year-old female from the south-west is the oldest victim to catch the illness.
Where the latest coronavirus cases in South Africa were reported
In Gauteng, 14 new cases have been reported in the province over the past 24 hours. The ages of those affected range from early twenties to late fifties. Many had a travel history through Europe, with the UK seemingly acting as the most-frequented destination for this new batch of coronavirus patients.
Of the four new cases reported in KwaZulu-Natal, three of them had no travel history. This suggests that cases of local transmission – where the disease is spread internally in the country and cannot be blamed on trips abroad – are also on the rise. Another pair of tots, aged three and five, were also confirmed positive in this province.
Why were the results released so late?
Minister Mkhize has stated that the results were released at an awkward time due to the fact this was the earliest opportunity all the new test cases and data could be released. The rise from 62 cases to 85 marks a 35% increase:
“It is notable that there are six cases of local transmission in total. I must inform the public that there was a debate with clinicians and virologists as to when we must reveal the results to the public. The issue of it being an ‘ethical obligation’ to announce the results as soon as we had them was raised.” Zweli Mkhize on coronavirus
#SouthAfrica confirms 85 #Coronavirus cases, up 23 from yesterday. 6 are of local transmission. #Covid19 pic.twitter.com/bGk56q3NwM— Irene Kaindi (@IreneKaindi) March 17, 2020