9 December 2020

This evening we wish to announce that as South Africa we are now experiencing a second wave. A criteria was formulated by our scientists and modeling teams. As it stands as a country we now meet that criteria. It is also important to highlight that four provinces, that being, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng Province are the key drivers of this new wave.

To break it down: The majority of new cases today are from WC (30%) followed by EC (24%) then KZN which accounted for 23%; and GP accounted for 17%. The Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West each accounted for 1% of new cases respectively while Northern Cape accounted for less than 1%

It is important as well to highlight that today we have breached 6000 in terms of new cases and the total new cases today identified is 6 709 thus giving us a total of 828 598 cumulative cases today.

Province Total cases for 09 December 2020 Percentage total
Eastern Cape 140647 17,0
Free State 59501 7,2
Gauteng 240261 29,0
KwaZulu-Natal 134184 16,2
Limpopo 18940 2,3
Mpumalanga 31906 3,9
North West 35223 4,3
Northern Cape 23517 2,8
Western Cape 144419 17,4
Unknown 0 0,0
Total 828598 100,0


There are some seriously concerning issues I need to bring to the attention of the public:

  1.  The positivity rate today is 18%- well above the ideal 10% that the MAC on COVID-19 recommends 
  2. You will notice from the seven day moving average graph that the increases in rapid increase in KZN and Gauteng are exponential. This means that we should expect faster rising numbers with a higher peak than in the first wave 
  3. In the last two days the age distribution of new cases showed a different pattern from the norm: the peak age in this period is in the 15-19 age group. This is believed to be due to large number of parties involving young people drinking alcohol with no adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions, ie wearing of masks, social distancing and hand and surface sanitizing.
    This inevitably leads
    to super spreader events which spill over into the rest of the country as this age group is highly mobile and the majority of the carriers are asymptomatic. If this trajectory continues our health care system will be overwhelmed by the numbers. Hence part of the recommendations that are being tabled by provinces themselves is that large gatherings and parties must be urgently curtailed.

We would like to indicate that, having observed the trends in the past couple of weeks, we had already sent a letter to all MEC’s urging them to prepare their respective provinces for a second wave.
The key issues that we have raised are that the provinces need to ensure that testing turnaround times are as quick as possible to facilitate patient flow, assess bed capacity including recalling field
hospital beds, attend to staffing and equipment needs urgently and to tighten up monitoring and evaluation and reporting to national department.

Testing Data
A cumulative 5 690 263 tests have been completed, of which 38 200 have been conducted since the last report.

Previously we had indicated that the NICD had migrated to a new system for capturing tests which now also capture the antigen tests. Therefore the breakdown of the above reported tests is as follows:

Total PCR tests reported on 8 Dec 5,640,042
New PCR tests done on 8 Dec 37,103
Retrospective Ag tests 12,021
New Ag tests done on 8 Dec 1,097
Total tests reported on 9 Dec 5,690,263


Deaths and Recoveries
Regrettably, 135 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported today: Eastern Cape 56, Free State 15, Gauteng 16, Kwa-Zulu Natal 7 and Western Cape 48.

This brings the total to 22 574 deaths.

We convey our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the health workers that treated the deceased patients.

Recoveries now stand at 754 658

Dr Zwelini Mkhize
Minister of Health