South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Wednesday said three of the country’s provinces, which were considered coronavirus hotspots, have seen new infections slow in recent weeks, reported The Guardian.
Gauteng, Western Cape and the Eastern Cape have seen steep rises in coronavirus cases for months, with total cases at roughly 183,000, 97,000 and 80,000 respectively.
“The number of new infections is increasing at a lower rate than what had been happening in the whole of June and up to the middle of July,” the South African Health Minister Mkhize told a news conference, referring to Gauteng. “That clearly indicates to us that there is a declining trend.”
Mkhize gave information about the average number of new cases in the country’s nine provinces and said that in Gauteng, Western Cape and Eastern Cape, surges in infections might have peaked.
But, the South African health minister warned that two other provinces, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State, had seen high rates, and that a failure to follow containment measures such as wearing masks could see infections rebound.
“We may well be over this peak sometime towards the end of August,” he said, adding, “If we don’t insist on distancing and use of masks we actually can have a second surge.”
According to the Africa centers for disease control and prevention, South Africa has reported 5,30,000 confirmed coronavirus cases so far, the fifth highest in the world and more than half of all reported cases in Africa. The country has recorded 9,298 Covid-19 deaths.
In related news, the World Health Organization (WHO) has sent a team of 43 health experts to South Africa to help the country deal with the pandemic. The country currently stands as the epicenter of COVID-19 in Africa with health experts warning that the rest of the continent may see a similar spread of the virus.