The Health Department has confirmed 62 people have now contracted Covid-19 in South Africa.
Ministers have been addressing the media after President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night announced a number of measures to counter the spread.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that South Africa was dealing with an explosive increase in coronavirus cases.
“We’ve seen in the past week, of which today is day 10, that we’ve increased [infection cases] from 1 to 51 which is doubling every day. No that for us is not just exponential, we think it’s an explosive rise in the cases that are positive.”
The minister said that should the number of cases run into the hundreds of thousands, it would overwhelm the country’s health sector.
“We are still dealing with imported cases, which then become the biggest problem because each and every one of the individuals is capable of creating their own mini outbreak that can grow into massive numbers that you have to deal with in terms of contacts.”
He warned that fighting the virus would not be an easy task.
“Each and every one has to take responsibility to fight this infection and it’s not simple, it’s going to be very hard but just so that you have a sense of the lie of the land as we move into the future, we are determined to suffer as few casualties as possible. We are determined to deal with this outbreak and we are determined to take hard decisions, if need be.”
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said that government was ready to spend money from the national disaster fund on the coronavirus response.
However, he said that the state would need to set aside further funding, which meant that government would have to reduce spending on other programmes.