The Gauteng Department of Health is refuting claims that there are 1.5 million graves in the province prepared for COVID-19 related deaths.

The reports come as the province overtook the Western Cape as epicentre of coronavirus infections in the country, with over 60 000 confirmed cases.

The province has recorded 8 810 new infections in the last 24 hours.

Below is a provincial breakdown of COVID-19 cases in SA:

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Gauteng Health Department Spokesperson Kwara Kekana says ensuring that there is adequate burial space is a reality that the provincial government has to contend with.

“The province does not have over a million already open dug graves. The over a million grave refers to the collective capacity municipalities can take in Gauteng.”

“Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku visited one of the graves in Tshwane yesterday. The gravesite visited has the capacity of 24 000. The Gauteng department of Health is continuing to improve and increase both the infrastructure and human resource capacity of the health system to deal with increasing pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that the subject of death is an unfortunate matter to engage in,” adds Kekana.

In the video below, Gauteng province prepares mass graves:

COVID-19 epicentre

Gauteng Province has now overtaken Western Cape as the province with the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases cumulatively. The number of confirmed cases stands at 224 665.

The Health Ministry on Wednesday reported 8 810 new cases, taking Gauteng to 75 015 cases while the Western Cape number jumps to 73 292 cases.

Over 1.9 million tests have been completed in total.

The number of recoveries is 106 842, which translates to a recovery rate of 47.5%.