Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in South Africa has risen to 85.

This is an increase of 23 from Monday’s announcement.

The breakdown per province is as follows:

Mkhize says: “I must inform the public that there was a debate with clinicians, epidemiologists [and] virologists on when we, as government must release results to the public. These experts raised an issue of an ethical obligation to immediately alert patients as soon as the results become available.

Mkhize adds:  “This therefore means that by the time a confirmation test is conducted in public laboratories, patients would have been notified of their initial results. This clarification is important because as government, we had announced to the public that all positive results will be verified through our public laboratories and the NICD.”

Last Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa ordered the closure of South African borders to high-risk countries such as Italy and China.

He also called on citizens to remain home and avoid travel, as part of the country’s response to the coronavirus epidemic.