South Africa has reported 19,506 COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, health authorities said, the highest daily figure since Jan. 9.

Noting that the new increase in infections represents a 27.6% positivity rate, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) said on Wednesday night that the number of cases in the country has risen to 1.97 million.

According to NICD, 383 more people died of the virus in South Africa, bringing the death toll in the country to 60,647.

South Africa is currently experiencing a third wave of infections.

The NICD said most of the new cases are from Gauteng province, which includes the capital Pretoria and largest city Johannesburg, accounting for 57% of infections, followed by the Western Cape province with 10% and the North West province with 7%.

The institute said that 698 more COVID-19 patients were hospitalized over the past 24 hours.

South Africa, with a population of nearly 60 million, has the highest COVID-19 caseload and death toll on the continent.

More than 3.02 million people in the country have received their first doses, while nearly 480,000 have been fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data, a tracking website affiliated with Oxford University.

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