Health Department explains slower rate of confirmed coronavirus cases in SA
Johannesburg - South Africa's confirmed cases of coronavirus increased at a slower rate on Saturday, up by 17 to 1,187 people, the health ministry said.
But the Department of Health however stressed that the slower rate of reported infections did not indicate a reduction in the speed of the outbreak.
"We must outrightly state that these numbers do not indicate a reduction in the number of infections. It is merely a reflection of positive results that were received, verified and ready for today's reporting," the department said in a statement.
Since the first positive case was reported on March 5 the rate of infections in South Africa has been exponential, rising from less than 20 two weeks ago to over 1 000, leading President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce a 21-day lockdown to slow the outbreak.
Only one death has been reported in the country so far.
In a separate statement, police said 55 people around the country had been arrested for contravening the terms of the lockdown. Authorities struggled to enforce the measures, especially in densely populated townships and rural areas, on the first day of the lockdown.
South Africa, the region's most developed economy, has the most infections on the continent and some experts fear the virus may overwhelm the already stretched health sector and test the government's vast social welfare system with the economy having recently slipped into recession.Reuters