The cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in South Africa has increased by a further 11 014 new cases, bringing the total number to 493 183, just less than 7 000 shy of half a million mark.

Gauteng continues to report the highest number of COVID-19 related deaths. According to the Health Department’s daily report, the province has recorded 103 of the 193 new fatalities, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 36; the Western Cape 33 and 13 from Mpumalanga.

The latest numbers bring the death toll in the country to 8005.

The report also indicates that the recovery rate in the country continues to be consistently above 60%, with 326 171 recoveries to date.

More people dying at home

Amid an alarming increase in the number of deaths in the outlying area of KwaCeza near Nongoma in northern KwaZulu-Natal, traditional and political leaders have expressed concern that people are carrying on with their daily life as if there is no COVID-19 pandemic.

It is feared that the increase in deaths at home could be COVID-19 related.

The local traditional leaders say the shortage of testing equipment and the late arrival of results are not helping.

Acting local inkosi Mpikayise Buthelezi says the number of people who died in the area has shown an alarming increase.

“It came to me as a surprise when I signed the death certificate of 14 people between the day of Friday and Saturday. And I am emphasising to the government that we already have 14 people that have died at home. This shows that, although we have not tested these people, it is because of the disease. I am calling on the community to take their bodies from the hospitals straight to the graveyards.”

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has commended South Africa for participating in vaccine trials against the coronavirus.

Scientists across the globe are racing to find a vaccine to combat the virus that has infected over 17 million people worldwide.

South Africa remains among the top five countries with the most infections in the world.

In the video below, Dr Ghebreyesus addresses a virtual national conference on COVID-19: