South Africa: Cases of COVID-19 top 500,000

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 2, 2020

Africa's most industrialised nation recorded 10,107 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, pushing the total to 503,290, the ministry said on Saturday.

Mkhize also said 315 COVID-19 more patients have succumbed to the killer disease, skyrocketing the death toll from 7 497 to 7 812.

South Africa, with a population of about 58 million, has the fifth-highest number of cases in the world, behind the US, Brazil, Russia and India, all countries with significantly higher populations, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

An analysis by the respected South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) suggested an excess of 22,000 natural mortalities between May 6 and July 21 compared to same period in 2019 and 2018.

South Africa has embarked on an aggressive testing and tracing exercise, conducting more than three million tests since the first case of the virus was recorded there in early March.

During August, the National Ventilator Project will deliver 20,000 locally produced, non-invasive ventilators to where they are most needed, Ramaphosa said, as the government continues to mobilise additional facilities, equipment and personnel in provinces still experiencing an increase in infections.

There is a fear that the number of cases being reported is short of the reality of the situation in South Africa.

Infections are not expected to peak for another month. And health experts have pointed to people's fear of the virus, which further prevents them from visiting a health clinic when they feel ill. "We may reach 1 million cases very quickly", said Denis Chopera, a virologist based in Durban.

South Africa's Gauteng province - which includes Johannesburg, the country's largest city and Pretoria, the capital - is the country's epicentre with more than 35 per cent of its confirmed cases.

Health experts believe that South Africa will have several peaks throughout the pandemic, but predicting the flattening of the curve has proven tricky globally. "Gauteng is the epicenter now and appears to be coping so far", Chopera told The Associated Press.

South Africa has one of the best health care systems on the continent, but it has been rocked by alleged corruption in the supply of personal protective gear for health workers in public hospitals.

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