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The hashtag #GautengGoesToLevel9 became Twitter’s top trend on Friday morning as the province became South Africa’s epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.
Up until now, the Western Cape had the highest number of cumulative cases. However, in recent weeks, the country’s most populated province has seen a surge in cases.
The latest tally, from 10pm on 9 July, shows 81 546 cases of COVID-19 in Gauteng. Meanwhile, the Western Cape has 74 815 and the Eastern Cape has 44 432.
In total, South Africa has seen 238 229 cases of COVID-19 and 3720 deaths. While over 113 000 people have fully recovered, record rises in cases have hit home for many residents.
With the latest figures, there has been an increase of 13 674 cases overnight.
The latest Twitter trend follows the recurring appearance of #COVID19isGettingCloser, which saw South Africans sharing their experiences of the virus.
Under #GautengGoesToLevel9, South Africans are sharing humourous takes on the situation.
Gauteng COVID-19 graves
Users are also commenting on grave numbers and allocated graves after mistaken reports that Gauteng is digging over one million new graves.
Gauteng’s Department of Health clarified grave numbers, saying that it does not have over a million open dug graves. Rather, the number referred to the total available capacity of graves across Gauteng’s municipalities.
We understand that the subject of death is an uncomfortable matter to engage in, however, ensuring that there is adequate burial space in the province, unfortunately, forms part of the reality government must contend with in the battle against COVID-19.
— Gauteng Health (@GautengHealth) July 9, 2020
#GautengGoesToLevel9 is a play on South Africa’s risk-adjusted lockdown, which has five levels. The country is currently at Level 3 lockdown, however some people have called for a return to Level 5’s ‘hard’ lockdown.
Coffin on sale on Takealot
This is the latest in a series of grim trends and events as South Africans grapple with the effects of the pandemic.
South African users also recently brought attention to the sale of a coffin on Takealot.
Despite the grim situation, local Twitter users are taking solace in memes and humour.
You can see some of the #GautengGoesToLevel9 posts below:
— IG: Jayt_Mbango 🇿🇦 (@JayT_Mbango) July 9, 2020
— The Queen Of Zamunda (@lindzmlangeni) July 9, 2020
— Moment of Clarity🇿🇦 (@mali_mthimkhulu) July 10, 2020
— iVenda Lase Mlazi (@Oscar_T_Hamese) July 9, 2020
— Hlaha@861024 (@Hlaha8610241) July 9, 2020
You can stay up-to-date with South Africa’s coronavirus cases on the SA government’s COVID-19 website.
Feature image: Screenshot