South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Friday confirmed the number of coronavirus cases in the country has spiked to 202, reported Reuters.
He revealed that 52 people tested positive Friday adding to 150 cases recorded the previous day in Africa’s most advanced economy. Notably, the majority of new cases have been reported in Gauteng province, which comprises Johannesburg and Pretoria, followed by Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.
The Health Department also announced that the Free State province now has its first confirmed cases.
“The patients are being informed as we speak, some have already been taken into quarantine by the provincial government,” Mkhize said.
Most of those who tested positive had traveled to European countries and the United States in the last few days. As per reports, seven people have contracted the virus in the Free State. Of the first five people reported in the province, two had come from Texas in the US, two from Isreal, and one from France. They all came to attend a church gathering along with 200 other people.
The minister said no one has died in South Africa from the virus as of yet and confirmed two have recovered.
“The virus is slowly seeping into all nations, but not all people will need hospitalization,” Mkhize said in a separate statement.
On Thursday, the health minister warned that between 60% and 70% of South Africans are likely to get affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus, though only about 20% will be seriously ill.
Mkhize said the virus “is going to be with us for some time”.
In related news, South African Airways (SAA) on Friday announced that it would immediately suspend all intercontinental flights until the end of May in response to a government travel ban aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
State-owned SAA flies to the United States, Britain, Germany, Australia and Brazil on its intercontinental routes. Earlier this week, the airline had canceled 162 intercontinental and regional flights until the end of this month.