UNITED NATIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA ANNUAL REPORT 2020
The initial period of the lockdown was characterised, by a slow rise in infections, with only 5,951 confirmed cases reported national wide as South Africa announced a move to Level 4 on 1 May 2020. However, as the country moved into the less restrictive Level 3 on 01 June a significant escalation in transmission was recorded. This transmission increased exponentially over the following three months, reaching 651,521 reported cases on 15 September 2020, an 84-fold increase. Efforts to compile statistics that could accurately capture the scale of the disease spread have been hampered by the limitations of testing capacity. The South African COVID-19 Modelling Consortium has assessed that the peak caseload in the current surge was reached in August. At the peak of this surge South Africa had the sixth highest infection rate in the world,9 and the highest infection rate and number of cases in Africa, with Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal overtaking the Western Cape as the worst affected provinces with regard to caseloads.