Media Release
28 May 2020

As of today, the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa is 27 403.

Case Data

Province Total cases for 28 May 2020 Percentage total
Eastern Cape 3306 12,1
Free State 225 0,8
Gauteng 3329 12,1
KwaZulu-Natal 2349 8,6
Limpopo 144 0,5
Mpumalanga 111 0,4
North West 134 0,5
Northern Cape 51 0,2
Western Cape 17754 64,8
Unknown 0 0,0
Total 27403 100,0


Distribution of COVID-19 positive cases by age:


Reported COVID-19 Deaths:
Regrettably, we report 25 more COVID-19 related deaths- this brings the total national deaths to 577

This evening we are saddened to report that one of the deaths that have been reported is that of an employee of the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS).

She was confirmed with COVID-19 a few weeks ago and was thereafter admitted to hospital. She finally succumbed to death today.

We are deeply saddened by these news and wish to send words of comfort to her family and thank them for having allowed their loved one to serve the country during this difficult time.

We also take this opportunity to encourage other NHLS employees. We understand that this tragedy will certainly test you. But we wish to assure you of our commitment to continue taking the necessary measures to protect you while you perform your duties by providing the
PPE required and ensuring that your work place protocols observe all the safety measures to mitigate the risk of our front line employees getting infected.

We wish to express our condolences to all the loved ones of the deceased and thank the health care workers who treated these patients.

The recoveries to date are
14 370 which translates to a recovery rate of 52,4%


The provincial breakdown is as follows:


Province Deaths Recoveries
Eastern Cape 77 1700
Free State 8 123
Gauteng 31 1993
KwaZulu Natal 50 1180
Limpopo 3 75
Mpumalanga 0 67
North West 1 45
Northern Cape 1 30
Western Cape 406 9157
Total 577 14370


Gender Distribution Deaths:

Male (%) Female (%) Total
308 (53,4%) 269 (46,6) 577


Age Distribution Deaths:

Age Deaths (%) Percentage
0-9 2 0,3
10-19 1 0,2
20-29 4 0,7
30-39 33 5,7
40-49 61 10,6
50-59 144 25
60-69 153 26,5
70-79 113 19,6
80-89 55 9,5
90-99 11 1,9
577 100


Testing Data
We continue to see the number of tests increasing rapidly and they consist of those who present to hospitals / laboratories (passive cases) and those who are identified for testing through the screening process. For various reasons, a lot of work has to be done to synchronize these figures at the laboratory. The figures that are reported are tests that have been conducted.

Several tests are concluded, however a backlog arises where a number of them are not allocated per province. Of the specimens that have been collected based on the clinical prioritization, some specimens do not immediately get processed resulting in a backlog in tests.

This means tests are not concluded on the same day when the specimen is received. The number of days it takes to clear those specimen remains variable. In the last 24 hours 20 727 tests have been conducted. This brings a total number of tests conducted to 655 723.

As at 27 May 2020 634 996 tests had been conducted and of those a total of 29 948 tests reflects a backlog of unallocated tests. This is due to the lack of sufficient data recorded and this requires the NICD to verify each test prior to allocating it to the province.

Unprocessed Specimens:
(Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Limpopo and North West do not backlogs of unprocessed specimens)

Region Unprocessed as
at 9 may 2020
Unprocessed as
at 14 May 2020
Unprocessed as
at 21 May 2020
Unprocessed as
at 25 May 2020
Eastern Cape 8350 7000 23000 22802
Free State 200 4300 6000 8800
Gauteng 15000 13000 23000 24076
KwaZulu Natal 12000 18000 28000 22802
Western Cape 14000 16630 21007 18000
Total 49 550 58 930 101 007 96 480


The acting director general was indeed correct when he stated that the backlog was around 80 000. This is to confirm that the exact figure of specimens that have not been processed is 96 480 as at 25 May 2020.

The Minister also made reference to the backlog of tests that had not been allocated and stated the figure of 30 000. This was in reference to the backlog of tests done but remain unknown at this stage as depicted in the table entitled “
COVID 19 Indicators By Province.”

The above table illustrates that number of tests conducted versus the specimens collected but not yet processed fluctuates on a daily basis. As we have previously explained, this challenge is caused by the limited availability of test kits globally (that is, inadequate supply of extraction kits and high throughputs of PCR kits).

It must be acknowledged that this capacity issue is a global challenge.

It is on this basis that, whilst specimens to test for COVID-19 are being collected from the community screening campaign, priority is being given to processing specimens that are received from patients who are admitted in hospital and health care workers.

We continue to engage suppliers all over the world and have issued licenses through SAHPRA as part of mitigating this capacity challenge.

Dr Zwelini Mkhize
Minister of Health