South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Tuesday fought off criticism against the Covid-19 lockdown, saying the measure has effectively stalled the exponential spread of the coronavirus.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa has reached 20,125, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Friday.

The country recorded 988 cases over the past 24 hours, Mkhize said in his daily update.

The death toll related with Covid-19 reached 397, up by 28 from Thursday, the minister said.

The total number of recoveries to date is 10,104, he said.

The Western Cape province, the epicentre of the outbreak in the country, led all other provinces with 12,888 confirmed cases, followed by Gauteng with 2,521, the Eastern Cape with 2,459, and KwaZulu-Natal with 1,735.


Nationwide, a total of 543,032 tests have been conducted so far, with 17,599 done in the last 24 hours, said Mkhize.

South Africa is preparing to ease the lockdown from level four to level three of a five-level system by the end of May, which will allow more businesses to reopen and greater movement of people.

As South Africa is entering the winter season when flu is common, the fight against Covid-19 will become more complicated and difficult, Mkhize said, adding the country’s capabilities to fight the virus will then be put to test.

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