For the first time since December 29, SA recorded fewer than 10,000 new Covid-19 cases in a 24-hour period.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Monday said that 9,010 new cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours, taking the national tally of confirmed cases across SA to 1,346,936.
The new infections came from 39,901 tests, at a positivity rate of 22.6%.
Earlier in the evening, at a briefing about the new Covid-19 variant, Mkhize said that there was room for cautious optimism in the battle against the second wave.
“When we look at our records at this point, we can see that we are, possibly, beginning to see an inflection of the curve and we are also seeing that the numbers [of infections] may be starting to decline. But it is too early to celebrate.
“It has been encouraging to know that, despite the mutations, we are still able to protect ourselves with the amour that we have established. This week has seen some promising signs of decline in transmission. Yesterday [Sunday] we noted a 23% decrease in new cases nationally compared to seven days prior.
“This could be attributable to many factors, including enhanced physical distancing facilitated by lockdown regulations,” he said.
In releasing the figures on Tuesday night, Mkhize said that 344 new Covid-19 related deaths had been recorded in the past 24 hours. Of these, 91 were in KwaZulu-Natal, 88 were in the Western Cape, 66 were in the Eastern Cape, 63 in Gauteng, 11 in the Free State, 13 in the Northern Cape, and 12 in Mpumalanga.
This means that 37,449 people have now died from Covid-19 related illnesses since the outbreak of the pandemic.
There have been 1,117,452 recoveries recorded to date, at a recovery rate of 83%.