A press conference on COVID-19 is held in Proteria, South Africa, March 9, 2020. South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Monday announced that four more South Africans have been tested positive for the COVID-19. (Xinhua)
A press conference on COVID-19 is held in Proteria, South Africa, March 9, 2020. South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Monday announced that four more South Africans have been tested positive for the COVID-19. (Xinhua)

South Africa on Tuesday reported 698 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the highest surge in a 24-hour cycle since the country reported its first case in early March.

This brought the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 11,350, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in a daily update.

The Western Cape Province, the epicenter of the pandemic, has the highest number of 6,105, followed by Gauteng with 2,014.

A total of 369,697 tests have been conducted to date, with 13,630 tests done in the past 24 hours, Mkhize said.

The minister did not report any new deaths in the past 24 hours. On Monday, the country recorded a total number of 206 deaths nationwide.

In a separate statement marking the International Nurses Day, Mkhize paid tribute to the role nurses play in fighting COVID-19.

“I would like to dedicate this day to all our nurses, especially those nurses who have lost their lives to the pandemic,” he said.

The contribution by nurses to the fight against the pandemic is “immeasurable,” said Mkhize.

Retaining and supporting the nursing work force requires a focus on promoting and protecting their physical, mental and spiritual well being, he added. Enditem

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