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COVID-19 cases in SA jump to 709 overnight

The minister is yet to give the exact details of where these cases are and the state of those patients.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize at a media briefing in Pretoria on 16 March 2020 on the latest developments of the coronavirus in South Africa. Picture: @NationalNhi/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has on Wednesday morning announced that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country has risen to 709.

The figure was sitting at 554 on Tuesday; meaning it has gone up by 155 cases since then.

He said over 12,000 tests have so far been conducted across the country.

The Free State has reported 15 more confirmed infections following a large church gathering.

Gaueng has also recorded 64 new confirmed cases overnight.

The minister said a large number of people have contracted the virus in a small area of Bloemfontein in the Free State.

Mkhize said people who have come into contact with those who have tested positive must come forward immediately.

“Where people don’t know they’ve got the infection, that’s where the travelling becomes an issue and the lockdown is supposed to address that aspect. We must avoid large movement of people and we’re very grateful that the churches have cancelled the Good Friday events because that is where a huge mixing would’ve happened.”

He has urged South Africans not to travel to their home provinces ahead and during the lockdown as this could increase the spread.

From Friday morning, the police and army will be deployed on highways and residential areas to minimise movement.

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