LIVE: President Ramaphosa addresses the nation as SA breaches 1 million Covid-19 cases
Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa is addressing the nation on Monday on developments in relation to the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as South Africa on Sunday breached one million cumulative Covid-19 cases.
Ramaphosa's much-anticipated address comes on the back of intense meetings held on Sunday with the National Coronavirus Command Council and special sessions on Monday of the President’s Co-ordinating Council and the Cabinet.
Many South Africans are calling on Ramaphosa to reinstate harsher lockdown measures in the wake of the spike in Covid-19 cases.
According to the latest statistics from the National Health Ministry, South Africa reached a cumulative total of 1 004 413 Covid-19 cases on Sunday.
The country surpassed the 1 million mark just nine days after it reported 900 000 cases. South Africa had taken two weeks to reach 900 000 from the 800 000 seen early in December.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced on Sunday that South Africa’s total number of Covid-19-related deaths now stands at 26 521.
The Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape remain the four provinces with the highest number of active cases.
The daily rise in infections has already passed the July peak when the cases topped just shy of 14 000. Daily infections on Christmas Day were the highest so far with 14 796 cases.
Several hospitals and medical centres have reported wards overflowing with patients with many health-care workers cancelling their holidays to tackle a huge influx of patients.
A new variant of the novel coronavirus is believed to be driving the surge in infections.
The new variant, referred to as 501.V2, was discovered by a network of scientists around South Africa who have been tracking the genetics of the Sars-Cov-2 virus.
First identified in Nelson Mandela Bay, it spread rapidly to other districts in the Eastern Cape, and to the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
Since the new variant was announced, several countries have cancelled flights to the country, pounding the already bruised travel and tourism sector.