President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday evening that there were 22,583 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country and 429 deaths.
Ramaphosa was giving an update on the government’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
He said the country would be placed on level 3 of the national lockdown regulations on June 1.
He said the “drastic containment measures taken” that had been imposed on the nation had slowed the rate of infection and prevented health facilities from being overwhelmed, although this had caused “great hardship” to many people.
“Tragically some 429 people have lost their lives,” he said.
“There are now just 11,000 active cases in the country,” he said, adding that 842 patients were in hospital and 128 in ICU.
He said 27 field hospitals were being built around the country to accommodate an anticipated influx of patients but noted that there was a shortage of diagnostic test kits in the country.
“We have known all along that the lockdown would only delay the virus … not stop it,” he said.
Ramaphosa met leaders of opposition parties on Wednesday. TimesLIVE reported that two party leaders, who were part of the virtual meeting, said he spoke of being under pressure from the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) to open up the economy.
Ramaphosa consulted with business, labour, religious leaders and the tourism industry before his address on Sunday.
This is a developing story.