South Africa reported 14,046 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, its highest-ever single-day increase, bringing the country’s total number of confirmed infections to 954,258.   

“This indicates that the virus continues to spread exponentially. Indeed, the rate of spread is much faster than the first wave, and we will surpass the peak of the first wave in the coming days,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in his daily COVID-19 update.

South Africa is currently experiencing a second wave of the pandemic.    

The previous highest daily total recorded was 13,944 on July 24.

“Our deaths continue to rise as well, and today [Wednesday], we are saddened to report an additional 411 COVID-19 related deaths,” Mkhize said.  

The latest deaths bring the total number of fatalities to 25,657. 

Tight restrictions 

Mkhize warned South Africans that the government will need to review the current restrictions and consider further measures to ensure that they curb the alarming rate of spread. 

South Africa had some of the harshest COVID-19 restrictions in the world four months back which barred non-essential workers from leaving their homes, exercising outside their homes, attending church or even walking their dogs. 

“We can never stress enough the need for citizens to take every precaution necessary as we celebrate the festive season and look for a reprieve from a tough year,” Mkhize said.

South Africa has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths on the continent and is the 18th most-affected country worldwide.

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