COVID-19 cases in South Africa near 600,000
Country has highest number of confirmed cases on continent and fifth highest globally
South Africa reported 2,258 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 592,144, the country’s health minister said late Tuesday.
“Regrettably, we report a further 282 COVID-19 related deaths,” said Zweli Mkhize, adding 66 of the deaths were from the Eastern Cape Province and 89 from Gauteng province, which includes the capital Pretoria and economic hub Johannesburg.
He said 57 deaths were from KwaZulu-Natal Province, three from Northern Cape Province, 13 from Free State Province, 34 from Western Cape Province and 20 from North West Province.
The latest figures bring the country’s death toll to 12,264.
The minister conveyed the government’s condolences to the loved ones of those who died and thanked healthcare workers who treated the deceased.
“The total number of tests conducted to date is 3.4 million, with 14,677 new tests conducted since the last report on Monday,” Mkhize said, adding 485,468 people have recovered, which translates to a recovery rate of 82%.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said Saturday that the spread of the novel coronavirus was slowing in the country as he announced a further relaxation in lockdown restrictions.
In March, South Africa implemented some of the world’s strictest lockdown regulations. Borders were shut, schools were closed and people were told to stay at home. Only essential workers were allowed outside.
To recover from economic loss, South Africa started gradually easing restrictions from June 1, including the reopening of places of worship.
The country lifted several bans on Monday. These include the sale of alcohol, going to restaurants and staying at hotels, but restrictions on international travel as well as a curfew between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. will remain in effect.
South Africa has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the continent and the fifth highest number globally, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University.