South Africa has recorded 709 covid-19 cases, the health minister announced on Wednesday.

Dr Zweli Mkhize made the announcement saying the cases increased from 554 to 709 last night.

The most increases were in Gauteng where there are 64 new cases.

“We are expecting quite an increase. We are still in very early days,” Mkhize said.

The Western Cape recorded 61 confirmed cases while KZN had 11 new cases.

The minister said the 15 new cases in the Free State were concerning for him because it was all linked to a church in Mangaung.

South Africa is set to go into lock down for 21 days from Thursday evening in a bid to curb the increase in coronavirus cases.

Dr Mkhize said the lock down ought not to be interpreted as an opportunity for people to through parties and invite friends over to socialize but more as a necessity to limit interaction.

“They must take this very seriously. If they think President (Cyril) Ramaphosa has given them a free holiday of three weeks and they can just around galivanting, they must know that actually we will pay a price for it,” he said during a morning interview on SABC.