South Africa has reported 1,673 COVID-19 cases, the highest daily increase since the country reported its first case in early March.
As of Wednesday, the country’s caseload has reached 25,937, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in his daily update, Xinhua reported.
The country also reported 28 new deaths from COVID-19, taking the national total to 552, Mkhize said.
So far, the nationwide count of recoveries stood at 13,451, he said, adding that a total of 634,996 tests have been conducted, with 29,005 tests done in the past 24 hours.
The Western Cape province remains the epicentre of the pandemic with 16,893 confirmed cases, followed by Gauteng with 3,167 cases, the Eastern Cape with 3,047 cases and KwaZulu-Natal with 2,186 cases.
Despite the rapid spread of the pandemic, the country is preparing to ease the lockdown from level four to level three, starting from June 1.
Level three will allow 8 million people to return to work with the resumption of most of the economic sector.
Also on Wednesday, the country’s Ministry of Health warned that harsher lockdown restrictions could be re-introduced at COVID-19 hotspots in the country if interventions fail to contain the pandemic in these areas after June 1.
Hotspots are areas that have more than five infected people per 100,000 population, or areas where the infections are increasing at a fast pace.
Some major metropolitan municipalities such as Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and the Nelson Mandela Bay have been identified as hotspots.