The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has increased by 165, with no new reported fatalities, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Tuesday evening
The country has now recorded 3 465 confirmed cases of the virus, with the death toll still at 58.
According to Mkhize, the number of tests had increased, with 5 427 conducted in the last 24 hours. The number of tests conducted to date stands at 126 937.
Gauteng remains the epicentre with 1 199 confirmed cases followed by the Western Cape with 1 010.
Mkhize, who was in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday, said the rapid rise of cases in the province was a concern.
According to the statistics provided on Tuesday, the Eastern Cape recorded 345 cases, an increase of 35 compared to Monday’s statistics.
Five people have died in the province.
“The biggest risk of spread, which has been identified, is the cultural practices occurring at funerals. We engaged with the provincial executive led by Premier Oscar Mabuyane together with Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba,” Mkhize said.
“We immediately took a decision to urgently deploy more medical experts, including senior epidemiologists, analysts and field consultants to reinforce the provincial team led by Dr Kerrigan McCarthy of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.”
He added the World Health Organisation was also assisting by deploying more clinicians and experts.
“We have also deployed senior officials from the national Department of Health to do a proper audit of the available personal protective equipment and other requirements. This is to ensure the safety and adequate protection of our health workers who are at the forefront.”
On Sunday, Gomba said in a statement the Eastern Cape wanted to place a moratorium on the use of tents and catering at funerals as people continued to break the lockdown limit of 50 people at such events in the province.
“Because [the] number of positive cases linked to funerals is escalating, we have to do things differently,” Gomba added.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) April 21, 2020
According to the national health department, the Eastern Cape had recorded five deaths so far and 25 recoveries.
Earlier this month, a retired nurse from Port Elizabeth became the province’s first coronavirus fatality.
The 66-year-old woman died at Livingstone Hospital after being in a coma for about a week, Gomba told HeraldLive.
She is reported to have attended a funeral in KwaDwesi two weeks before being admitted to hospital and was among mourners who have since tested positive.
As of Monday evening, there were 111 cases of Covid-19 at correctional service facilities across the country.
The first prison was the East London Correctional Centre in the Eastern Cape, where a staff member had reportedly fallen ill after attending a funeral in Port Elizabeth.
The department’s spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo, confirmed cases in the Eastern Cape remained the same, with 31 officials and 56 inmates being infected.
All 56 inmates and 30 officials are from the East London prison, while one official at the St Albans Correctional Centre in Port Elizabeth also tested positive.
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