Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed the number of positive coronavirus cases in South Africa has reached 709 during an interview this morning [March 25].

The Western Cape cases have grown by 61. However, five of the initial positive cases have been confirmed negative and of those positive, only two are in ICU in private hospitals. No fatalities have been recorded.

In an interview with SABC this morning, Mkhize explained that the major concern for the government at the moment is to identify contacts of those who have tested positive. This, called contact tracing, will help identify possible COVID-19 transmission by people who do not know they are positive yet.

He emphasised that the purpose of the lockdown is to try and slow the growing prevalence of local transmission. “We are trying to stop the spread of the virus from South Africans to other South Africans,” said Mkhize. 

“This virus is not going to be defeated by doctors and nurses, it’s going to be defeated by individuals. We need to be in this together, hand washing sanitising, keeping our distance from each other,” he added. 

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