Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says President Cyril Ramaphosa has not yet indicated his intention to tighten the coronavirus lockdown regulations.

This as concerns mount that the country could experience a substantial third wave of the virus earlier than was initially anticipated.

The first four cases of a new coronavirus variant that emerged in India have also been detected in South Africa.

Mkhize says President Ramaphosa will communicate his views at an appropriate time.

“I think at the right time whenever it becomes necessary, the President takes the decision to address the nation. All we have to do is make sure that there are adequate considerations put into various issues that are needed to contain the spread of the virus so that we are able to answer or respond to all the things that we are seeing. So, at this point, we would not be able to say much about the President. He has not given us any indication.”

In the video below, Dr Mkhize gives an update on the country’s COVID-19 status: 

In the past 24-hour cycle, South Africa has recorded 1 778 new coronavirus infections, bringing the cumulative number of cases to 1 596 595.

Eleven more people have succumbed to COVID-19 related complications. This puts the national death toll to 54 735, as seen in the graphic below:


Concerns over cases rising  

On Sunday, Senior Researcher at the  Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Ridhwaan Suliman said there has been a sharp increase in positive coronavirus cases in South Africa in the last two weeks.

He said people must continue to adhere to protocols to prevent a major resurgence of the virus.

Dr Suliman said the test positivity rate in the last week was 6.7%  which is well above the WHO’s recommended levels.

He also added that the 60% increase in the number of new coronavirus infections in Gauteng over the last week is a cause for concern.

Dr Suliman says the situation in the Free State and the Northern Cape must also be closely monitored.

South Africans are urged to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing and regular hand washing to slow the spread of the coronavirus.