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South Africa cases pass 10,000; concerns grow over Cape Town hotspot

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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa (as of Monday May 11) surpassed 10,000, including 194 fatalities, according to Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize. The death toll of 194 is an increase of eight on the previous figure.

Mkhize confirmed that over 340,000 tests have been conducted since the beginning of the outbreak in the country.

He noted with concern that the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces combined comprise 84 per cent of the total new cases.

That is what is going happen in Cape Town. Where the higher rate of transmission is, it is going to require that there are even stricter restrictions.

Despite increasing numbers of daily infections, the minister said they were encouraged by the number of recoveries which stood at 4,173 as of Monday.

Since May 1, the government has gradually eased the lockdown measures put in place in late March to stem the spread of the virus.

However, the minister said the government might consider tighter restrictions in coronavirus hotspots such as Cape Town and Johannesburg which have the highest cases of infections in the country.

Cape Town and the surrounding Western Cape province have become South Africa’s coronavirus hotspot, accounting for more than half of the nation’s confirmed cases, which have gone above 10,600.

The Western Cape province has 5,621 cases, according to figures released Monday, and of the country’s 206 deaths registered from COVID-19, 116 have occurred in the province.

Cape Town, with its poor, densely populated townships, is the center of the cases in the province.

South Africa has the continent’s highest number of confirmed cases and has eased its restrictions to allow an estimated 1.6 million people to return to work in selected mines, factories and businesses.

However, the concentration of cases in Cape Town may see the city return to a stricter lockdown, according to Health Minister Zweli Mkizhe.

“That is what is going happen in Cape Town. Where the higher rate of transmission is, it is going to require that there are even stricter restrictions,” said Mkhize over the weekend.

“Our data indicated that the virus is spreading faster, and that we are in a new phase of the pandemic,” said Western Cape premier Alan Winde on Sunday, saying the province is now experiencing greater community transmission. “This is a phase that every part of the country will experience at some point,” said Winde, adding that South Africa is expected to reach its peak of cases in August.

AP

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