JOHANNESBURG 

South Africa reported 205 new coronavirus-related deaths in a single day pushing the nationwide toll to 22,952 the highest on the continent, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced late Friday. 

Mkhize said 8,319 new cases were detected in the same period after testing 44,074 samples bringing the total number of cases to 845,083.

Four of the country’s nine provinces reported most of the deaths on Friday with Eastern Cape recording 96 deaths, Western Cape 42 fatalities, Gauteng Province 20 deaths, and KwaZulu-Natal 20.

Three other provinces also reported some deaths with Northern Cape losing 15 people, followed by Free State 10 and the northern Limpopo province reporting two deaths.

Mkhize announced Wednesday the country is battling a second COVID-19 wave, urging citizens to exercise caution and change their behavior.

South Africa saw an average of 15,000 cases daily during its first peak in July. However, daily new cases had significantly dropped in the past three months. The cases started to reemerge in late November.

Keeping in view the upcoming holiday season, the minister urged citizens to show a sense of responsibility and scale down festivities.

“We now need to understand that we have a responsibility to enjoy various restraints. If our enjoyment is going to lead to more people getting sick, getting admitted and even some losing lives, it is not a responsible way of enjoying ourselves,” said Mkhize in a news briefing on Wednesday.

South Africa has the highest case numbers in the African continent and is the 18th most-affected country globally.

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