South Africa has recorded 23 new cases of coronavirus in one day, the highest increase of any 24- hour period since the country confirmed its first case.
Of the new cases, four are children aged under five years.
The country now has 85 confirmed cases of coronavirus—the highest in sub- Saharan Africa.
South Africa’s health ministry said eight of the new cases involved local transmissions, the first confirmation of internal transmissions after erroneously reporting a case on March 12.
Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, admitted there had been a “debate with clinicians, epidemiologists, virologists on when we, as government must release results to the public.”
Local media speculate that this debate was why the announcement wasn’t made until Tuesday evening.
In the same statement, Mkhize also confirmed all 100 South Africans who were repatriated from Wuhan in China have been tested and declared virus-free.
The group will, however, remain in quarantine at a hotel in Limpopo province.
South Africa confirmed its first case on March 5, a man who arrived from Italy with his wife who later tested positive as well on March 8.
The country has been reporting additional cases since then, but the highest spike seen so far was reported on Tuesday night.
President Cyril Ramaphosa last week declared a national disaster and announced a ban on travel from countries worst hit by the virus.—Al Jazeera