As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rises to 24 264, the country is working around the clock to ramp up its testing capacity.

However, South Africa is now faced with the challenge of a shortage of test kits — a problem not unique to the country.

“As a country, we are now facing a challenge with the global shortage of testing reagents. We understand it is becoming a challenge to many other countries,” said Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, on Tuesday.

The Minister said South Africa is in an urgent drive to source stock from around the world.

In the COVID-19 context, a reagent is a chemical used in a lab to test patient swab samples to determine whether a person is infected or not.  

According to the statistics released on May 27, the number of infections grew by 649 in the last 24 hours, while the country recorded 43 new COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the total number to 524.

Of the 524 deaths, two are children between zero and nine years, and one between 10 to 19 years.

Provincial Statistics

The Western Cape has the highest number of infections, with 15 829 cases reported, followed by Gauteng with 3 043, Eastern Cape with 2 864, while KwaZulu-Natal has 1 927. 

Provinces with the least infections include the Free State, with 206 cases, Limpopo 132, North West 115, Mpumalanga 103 and Northern Cape 45.

Meanwhile, the total number of tests conducted in the country is 605 991, while recoveries are sitting at 12 741, Mkhize said.

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