SA: Red flag raised over rapid spread of COVID-19

CAPE TOWN, May 17 (Xinhua) -- South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Sunday voiced concern over the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the Western Cape province, the epicenter of the epidemic in the country.

"We remain concerned about the developments in the Western Cape," where a total of 9,294 cases were reported, comprising almost 60 percent of the national cumulative cases, Mkhize said.

 

The province's new cases in the past 24 hours stood at 890, accounting for 76 percent of the total new cases in the country, he said.

 

Nationwide, new cases topped 1,160 in the past 24 hours, the highest daily infections so far, bringing the national tally to 15,515.

 

"Regrettably, we report further three COVID-19 related deaths -- this brings the total national deaths to 264," Mkhize said.

Of all fatalities, 156 were reported in the Western Cape.

Also on Sunday, Western Cape Governor Allan Winde said the majority of infected people in the province have only experienced mild symptoms and 90 percent of them will not need to be hospitalized.

"While many will recover without complications, we must not underestimate the impact of COVID-19, especially on the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions," Winde said.

The overwhelming majority of COVID-19 positive people who have died in the province had one or more comorbidities, according to Winde.

"The infection curve in the Western Cape is moving faster, and we are seeing higher rates of community transmission," he added.

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