Everyone in the Western Cape who tests positive for Covid-19 will be confined to hospital, regardless of whether they are asymptomatic.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize announced the move at a media briefing on Saturday in Cape Town, the epicentre of SA's Covid-19 outbreak.
Until now, asymptomatic patients have been asked to self-isolate, but Mkhize said that was no longer good enough as Cape Town accounted for half of all Covid-19 cases nationally.
“We are going to put them in field hospitals,” he said. “People will be kept in hospital not because they need treatment but until they are past the point where they are infectious.”
More quarantine beds would also be provided for people who have had contact with confirmed Covid-19 patients, he said.
Mkhize said a shortage of coronavirus test kits was being experienced nationwide, and would be the subject of urgent talks at the health department.
In the meantime, the public and private sectors would work in close co-ordination over testing, and Mkhize said he would lead talks about the cost of testing in the private sector.
This is a developing story.