South Africa is edging closer to a 1.6 million COVID-19 caseload, after 1 548 patients were confirmed to have contracted the virus on Tuesday.
According to Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases identified since the outbreak now stands at 1 599 272 in South Africa.
The Minister also announced 71 additional deaths related to Coronavirus, bringing the tally to 54 896.
Of the latest fatalities, 23 are from the Free State, while both Gauteng and the Northern Cape recorded 16 each.
In addition, eight deaths occurred in the Western Cape, five in KwaZulu-Natal and three from the Eastern Cape.
"We convey our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the healthcare workers who treated the deceased patients," said Mkhize.
Meanwhile, the recovery rate is still holding steady at 95% after 1 519 258 patients recuperated so far, while the country has 25 118 active cases.
The information is based on the 10 931 906 tests of which 26 075 were conducted in the last 24 hours.
Globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said there are 158 651 638 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 3 299 764 deaths, with 1 206 243 409 administered vaccine doses.
According to the WHO, the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths globally decreased slightly this week, with over 5.5 million infections and over 90 000 deaths.
"Case and death incidence, however, remains at the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic," the organisation added.
According to the WHO's weekly epidemiological update, the additional weekly cases decreased in the regions of Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, while the South-East Asia region continued an upward trajectory for nine weeks and reported a further 6% increase last week.
Death incidence peaked in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions, while India continues to account for 95% of cases and 93% of deaths in the South-East Asia region, as well as 50% of global cases and 30% of global deaths.
The organisation said the "worrying" trends have been observed in neighbouring countries, which have been showing a sustained upward trend in cases and deaths over several weeks.
The highest numbers of new cases were reported from India (2 738 957 new cases, 5% increase), Brazil (423 438 new cases, similar to the previous week), the United States (334 784 new cases, 3% decrease), Turkey (166 733 new cases, 35% decrease), and Argentina (140 771 new cases, 8% decrease).