COVID-19: SA records 10,939 new cases, 254 deaths

The country, much like many other nations across the globe, is in the grips of a second wave of the pandemic.

FILE: A Doctors Without Border (MSF) nurse (C) performs a COVID-19 coronavirus test during a Ministry of Health screening and testing drive in the Wolhuter men's hostel in Jeppestown district of Johannesburg, on 14 May 2020. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa has recorded 10, 939 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, a figure higher than any other daily increase since August.

The country, much like many other nations across the globe, is in the grips of a second wave of the pandemic.

Health systems in regions like the Eastern Cape and some in the Western Cape are seeing a notable uptick in hospital admissions amid warnings from health experts that the resurgence is being fuelled by a new variant of the virus.

The new infections have pushed the country's total caseload over the 912,000 mark.

There's also been a big jump in the number of fatalities. 254 more people succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours with more than half of those new deaths recorded in the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape.

The additional fatalities now place South Africa's national COVID-19 death toll at 24,539 which is by far the highest toll on the continent.

READ: COVID-19 virus variant means young South Africans also at risk of dying - Mkhize

This comes amid another agonising milestone in the global fight against the virus with the World Health Organization announcing Saturday was the deadliest day on record, with 13,000 people losing their lives to the illness.

Global infections have also surpassed the 75 million mark.

Meanwhile, Gauteng authorities said they would continue monitoring the province's adherence to measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus where they identify risks.

The provincial government has again sounded the alarm over an accelerating infection rate as the country goes into holiday mode.

With Gauteng identified as one of four hotspot provinces, Sports and Arts Mec Mbali Hlophe has pleaded with event organisers not to host festivals, sports tournaments and community gatherings during this period.

Hlophe said these gatherings could easily become super-spreader events: “Whilst we understand the mask and COVUD-19 fatigue that has kicked in, we kindly request everyone to continue to be safe and observe the restrictions as given. The second wave is proving to be harsher and deadlier, as seen globally. It is in this regard we must continue to flatten the curve. Our collective priority should be to spend the festive season with our families and not to bury them.”

STUDYING NEW VARIANT

The national Department of Health said its working to learn more about the new variant of the disease.

READ MORE: SA scientists identify covid-19 variant, Mkhize announces

The South African Medical Association said the mutation was more transmissible than the first and can cause more severe illnesses.

The association's chair Dr Angelique Coetzee has cautioned against complacency amongst young South Africans, saying they're now equally at risk of dying from COVID-19, because of this new variant.
“Where in the past we said that older people are predominantly the carriers of this virus, we now urge young people to please understand that this second wave, they are now also being targeted by the virus.”

WATCH: Expect faster rise in COVID-19 cases in second wave - Mkhize

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