Concerns are mounting that if the trajectory continues, South Africa’s new coronavirus infections will breach the one-million mark as early as Sunday.

South Africa has recorded its highest daily number of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. In the past 24-hours 14 796 new infections have been reported. At least 293 more people have succumbed to COVID-19-related complications, bringing the national death toll to 26 276.

The Health Department has appealed for people to be extra vigilant and ensure health protocols are observed as the number of new daily cases has breached the 14 000 mark for a third consecutive day. With the record numbers continuing to increase.

The Department says there are over 126 000 known active COVID-19 cases in South Africa, urging people to exercise social distancing amid the festive season.

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Meanwhile, scientists say a new coronavirus variant – spreading across parts of the globe – remains a health risk.

This comes as the second wave of the coronavirus sweeps over the country.

The Director of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Research Innovation Platform, Professor Tulio  De Oliviera says the new lineage of the coronavirus is dominating new infections in South Africa.

He says the new variant started spreading in the Eastern Cape and has spread along the Garden Route before spreading to KwaZulu-Natal, Cape Town and other parts of the country.

De Oliviera says the new coronavirus has a lot of mutations or changes in its genetic material.

The Ministerial Advisory Committee’s Professor Salim Abdool Karim said the second wave in the Western Cape is much more than the first wave.

New COVID-19 variant identified by scientists in South Africa: