Health experts are warning that the number of new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape is rising faster than in the Western Cape, which is considered to be the epicentre of the pandemic in South Africa.

Figures released on Saturday by the Department of Health in the Western Cape show that 1 305 new cases have been reported since Friday night’s update, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 58 925.

Another 43 deaths have also been reported in the province, bringing the total to 1 696.

Below is the breakdown of the numbers:

Public Health Expert Kerrin Begg says the curve indicating the rate at which new infections in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape are increasing is steeper than it was in the Western Cape.

“Regional difference with the Western Cape (is) escalating significantly earlier than other provinces, but the reality is that Gauteng and Eastern Cape are starting to escalate now in a similar fashion. In fact, if you look at the steepness of the curve of Gauteng and Eastern Cape, it’s actually even steeper at the moment than Western Cape was at the time, which is very worrying.”

In the video below, Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba talks about the rapid rise of infections:

On Thursday, Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuka revealed that more than 900 public sector workers tested positive in the province.

Masuku had on Wednesday told the Gauteng Legislature that South Africa’s economic hub may be facing a shortage of 6 878 critical care beds and 1 788 ICU nurses when COVID-19 cases hit an expected peak in late August and early September.

He said he is working tirelessly to ensure that there are enough beds to deal with COVID-19 in Gauteng.

In the video below, Masuku talks about Gauteng’s readiness to deal with COVID-19:

On Tuesday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize commended the private and public initiative by the Eastern Cape Health Department and Volkswagen South Africa.

The initiative saw to the handing over of a 6 000 square-metre temporary medical facility in Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth.

Dr Mkhize said the facility will alleviate pressure off the public health fraternities.

“A total of 3 300 beds coming along with oxygen reticulation. All of this is a very important combination of what our needs are at this point. This has now been established in record time.”