In March 2020, South Africa confirmed its first case of COVID-19. Seven months later the country had just over 650 000 people who had tested positive for the new coronavirus. Here’s what our local epidemic has looked like over time.

Since South Africa reported its first case of COVID-19 in March, Bhekisisa has been taking daily statements from the national health department and turning them into easy-to-understand graphics.

Initially, these maps were a way to help people visualise the spread of the virus throughout the country and see how the epidemic was growing. Then in July, as South Africa’s outbreak was changing and case numbers were dropping, we decided to introduce a new element and showcase the number of active cases in the country.

This resource is designed for you to scroll through and get a quick snapshot of what South Africa’s epidemic looked like on a specific day. You can also use it to track how the outbreak has evolved over time.

South Africa: COVID-19 Active Cases from 6 July 2020 to 19 June 2022

113. October 26 2020

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There are 716 759 confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa, as of 26 October. This includes 891 new cases.

A total of 646 721 recoveries have been reported, which is 551 more since the day before.

To date, 4 709 403 tests have been conducted. Of these, 11 464 are new.

Sadly, 40 new deaths have been reported — of which 10 occurred over the past 48 hours:
• North West: 16
• Eastern Cape: 8
• Western Cape: 7
• Gauteng: 4
• Mpumalanga: 4
• KwaZulu Natal: 1

This brings the national death toll to 19 008.

We’ve included a downloadable spreadsheet, which we designed to help calculate the number of active cases. The spreadsheet contains data originally shared by the health department in daily press releases.

Now instead of sifting through hundreds of PDF documents, you can filter through the numbers with ease and pull out specific areas of interest — for example, focusing on changes or  the number of active cases in a specific province.

South Africa: COVID-19 Cumulative Cases from 5 March – 6 July 2020

001. March 5 2020

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South Africa has confirmed its first case of COVID-19.

The patient is a 38-year-old male who travelled to Italy with his wife. They were part of a group of 10 people and they arrived back in South Africa on March 1, 2020.

The patient consulted a private general practitioner on March 3, with symptoms of fever, headache, malaise, a sore throat and a cough.

The practice nurse took swabs and delivered it to the lab.

The patient has been self-isolating since March 3. The couple also has two children.

The Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) has identified the contacts by interviewing the patient and doctor.

The tracer team has been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal with epidemiologists and clinicians from NICD. The doctor has been self-isolated as well.

WATCH: How South Africa’s epidemic began

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Aisha Abdool Karim was a senior health reporter at Bhekisisa from 2020 to 2022.

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Dylan Bush is Bhekisisa's production and multimedia manager.