COVID-19 Update

As of today, the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa is 27 403.

Case Data

ProvinceTotal cases for 28 May 2020Percentage total
Eastern Cape330612,1
Free State2250,8
North West1340,5
Northern Cape510,2
Western Cape1775464,8

Reported COVID-19 Deaths:

Regrettably, we report 25 more COVID-19 related deaths- this brings the total national deaths to 577.

This evening we are saddened to report that one of the deaths that have been reported is that of an employee of the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS). She was confirmed with COVID-19 a few weeks ago and was thereafter admitted to hospital. She finally succumbed to death today. We are deeply saddened by these news and wish to send words of comfort to her family and thank them for having allowed their loved one to serve the country during this difficult time.

We also take this opportunity to encourage other NHLS employees. We understand that this tragedy will certainly test you. But we wish to assure you of our commitment to continue taking the necessary measures to protect you while you perform your duties by providing the

PPE required and ensuring that your work place protocols observe all the safety measures to mitigate the risk of our front line employees getting infected.

We wish to express our condolences to all the loved ones of the deceased and thank the health care workers who treated these patients.

The recoveries to date are 14 370 which translates to a recovery rate of 52,4%.

The provincial breakdown is as follows:

Eastern Cape771700
Free State8123
KwaZulu Natal501180
North West145
Northern Cape130
Western Cape4069157

Gender Distribution Deaths:


Male (%)


Female (%)



308 (53,4%)269 (46,6)577

Age Distribution Deaths:




Deaths (%)




Testing Data

 We continue to see the number of tests increasing rapidly and they consist of those who present to hospitals / laboratories (passive cases) and those who are identified for testing through the screening process.

For various reasons, a lot of work has to be done to synchronize these figures at the laboratory. The figures that are reported are tests that have been conducted. Several tests are concluded, however a backlog arises where a number of them are not allocated per province. Of the specimens that have been collected based on the clinical prioritization, some specimens do not immediately get processed resulting in a backlog in tests. This means tests are not concluded on the same day when the specimen is received.

The number of days it takes to clear those specimen remains variable.

In the last 24 hours 20 727 tests have been conducted. This brings a total number of tests conducted to 655 723.

SectorTotal testedNew tested
Private322 27949%12 28959%
Public333 44451%8 43841%
Grand Total655 72320 727

COVID-19 indicators by province

Province Number of confirmed 



Community screening


Contacts traced





Case fatality rate
Western Cape143,741511,58813,291 (98%)6603872.3
Eastern Cape62,5861,133,7897,790 (85%)135702.3
Gauteng209,6571,559,27912,007 (100%)121311.0
KZN106,9451,541,4286,901 (100%)146492.2
North West10,8711,584,3421,074 (90%)3110.8
Free State33,1651,594,2733,637 (99%)3483.6
Limpopo14,1342,604,2531,248 (92%)332.1
Mpumalanga18,1241,744,3972,452 (100%)000.0
Northern Cape5,825640,746796 (99%)012.1
South Africa634,996*12 914 09549,196 (96%)11305502.1

As at 27 May 2020 634 996 tests had been conducted and of those a total of 29 948 tests reflects a backlog of unallocated tests. This is due to the lack of sufficient data recorded and this requires the NICD to verify each test prior to allocating it to the province.

Unprocessed Specimens:

RegionUnprocessed as

at 9 may 2020

Unprocessed as

at 14 May 2020

Unprocessed as

at 21 May 2020

Unprocessed as

at 25 May 2020

Eastern Cape835070002300022802
Free State200430060008800
KwaZulu Natal12000180002800022802
Western Cape14000166302100718000
Total49 55058 930101 00796 480

(Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Limpopo and North West do not backlogs of unprocessed specimens)

The acting director general was indeed correct when he stated that the backlog was around 80 000. This is to confirm that the exact figure of specimens that have not been processed is 96 480 as at 25 May 2020.

The Minister also made reference to the backlog of tests that had not been allocated and stated the figure of 30 000. This was in reference to the backlog of tests done but remain unknown at this stage as depicted in the table entitled “COVID 19 Indicators By Province.”

The above table illustrates that number of tests conducted versus the specimens collected but not yet processed fluctuates on a daily basis.

As we have previously explained, this challenge is caused by the limited availability of test kits globally (that is, inadequate supply of extraction kits and high throughputs of PCR kits).

It must be acknowledged that this capacity issue is a global challenge.

It is on this basis that, whilst specimens to test for COVID-19 are being collected from the community screening campaign, priority is being given to processing specimens that are received from patients who are admitted in hospital and health care workers.

We continue to engage suppliers all over the world and have issued licenses through SAHPRA as part of mitigating this capacity challenge.

Diseases A-Z Index



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