South Africa coronavirus cases top 500 000

South Africa coronavirus cases top 500 000

South Africa has now registered more than 500,000 cases of coronavirus, the Department of Health announced Saturday, making it by far the hardest-hit country in Africa.

Nurse holds a swab for the coronavirus / covid19 test stock photo
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The country has become the epicentre of the deadly pandemic on the continent, accounting for more than half of Africa's diagnosed infections.


"Today South Africa has exceeded the half-a-million mark with a cumulative total of 503,290 confirmed COVID-19 cases recorded," Heath Minister Zweli Mkhize said in his daily update.


More than a third of positive cases are in Gauteng.


So far the number of fatalities stands at 8,153, although local researchers have recorded a jump of nearly 60 percent in the overall number of natural deaths in recent weeks, suggesting a far higher toll of coronavirus-related fatalities than officially recorded.


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. 


The country's caseload has been rising rapidly in recent weeks.


Health authorities have been expecting a surge in cases after the gradual loosening of a strict lockdown that was imposed on March 27, during the early stage of the pandemic.


However, the recovery rate has so far been a high 68 percent.


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Gauteng records 103 Covid-19 deaths, national toll passes 8 000

In a statement, the Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize said this brings the deaths since the pandemic hit the county to 8005. "We convey our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the health care workers who treated the deceased."

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