South Africa's COVID-19 cases surpass half a million

Elias Hubbard
August 2, 2020

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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.

South Africa, which now has the world's fifth highest infection burden of around 482,169 confirmed cases, launched a 250 million rand ($14.80 million) project in April to make them here.

South Africa was already in recession before the coronavirus hit and its unemployment stands at 30 per cent. President Cyril Ramaphosa's government has extended grants to the country's poorest, increased supplies to hospitals and recently accepted a $4.3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Cape Town, a city beloved by global tourists at the country's southern tip, was the first epicentre and reached its peak last month, according to health experts. Other provinces, of course, are still driving the increasing numbers.

This brings the total number of deaths to 7,812. "What we know for sure is that the figures are an underestimate and that this virus will be with us for a long time to come".

The Gauteng province, home to the capital city of Johannesburg, has reported 35 percent of the country's cases, making it the epicenter of the virus in South Africa.

Health experts believe that South Africa will have several peaks throughout the pandemic, but predicting the flattening of the curve has proven tricky globally.

Based on the clinical experience of COVID-19 epicentres such as China, Britain and the United States, the government decided that the production of non-invasive Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices would have the greatest chance of saving lives in South Africa, Patel said.

Of the new deaths reported, eight were in the Eastern Cape, 103 in Gauteng, 36 in KwaZulu-Natal, 33 in the Western Cape and 13 in Mpumalanga.

The country has struggled with exceeding hospital capacities and abilities, along with shortages of oxygen and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health care workers.

South Africa's confirmed cases of COVID-19 have crossed half a million, its health ministry has announced, while cases in Africa as a whole approached a million.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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