Coronavirus cases in South Africa climb to 38
President calls for urgent cabinet meeting over increasing spread of COVID-19
South Africa announced Saturday that the total number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus has climbed to 38.
"Fellow South Africans, as of today, ... the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is now 38. This means that our numbers have increased by 14, from yesterday's confirmed cases of 24," Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.
Mkhize said among the cases is a 76-year-old male who had traveled to U.K. and the U.S.
Others include a 38-year-old male who had traveled to the Netherlands and Germany. Some other patients infected with the virus had recently traveled to France, Germany, Brazil and Italy.
"In view of the raising numbers, President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for an urgent cabinet meeting to be held on Sunday," said health ministry in a statement, adding "the meeting will explore ways of intensifying the country’s response to this outbreak."
South Africa has so far conducted over 900 tests, according to a statement by the government-run National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
No deaths from the virus have been reported in South Africa.
The South African government repatriated 146 citizens who have been living in Wuhan, China on Saturday. They are currently being quarantined at a resort in the Northern Limpopo province.
After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, the virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 135 countries and territories.
The global death toll is now more than 5,300, with more than 142,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization, which has declared the outbreak a “global pandemic.”