The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) has now risen to 150, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced.
Ramaphosa revealed this during a media briefing after his meeting with religious leaders in Pretoria on Thursday.
“The level of infections has now risen to 150 and that for us is concerning because that already tells us if you extrapolate that it could start rising in greater numbers,” he said.
34 new cases in one day
The Department of Health has not yet announced a breakdown per province of the new cases.
Ramaphosa’s announcement means that the number of confirmed cases has risen by 34 since the last announcement on Wednesday. Of these, two are locally transmitted, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).
The President hailed his meeting with the religious leaders as “constructive” and said there was an agreement to cancel large religious gatherings and to have a national day of prayer.
The government has gazetted various restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, including a ban on gatherings of more than 100 people.
SA Zionist churches to hold Easter service
Religious organisations that attended the meeting included the SA Council of Churches, the Anglican Church, the Dutch Reform Church, the Nazareth Baptist Church, and representatives of the Muslim faith, among others.
Head of the SA Council of Churches Bishop Malusi Mpulwana spoke out against some religious groups that have resisted the government’s measures.
Mpulwana said, “Churches who refuse to do this could face charges of endangering [people’s] lives.”
His comments come after Bishop Bheki Ngcobo, the spokesperson of the SA Zionist Churches, said their Easter services would go ahead.
Speaking to SABC News, he said, “Why are companies still allowed to operate? They were given the precautions and those companies have more than a thousand workers in one building.
“But only the church must not go and worship the Lord. I am not disputing what the President is saying because it is his country, but I do understand that in South Africa God is there. In our congregation, we agreed that we are going to worship the Lord in numbers.”