Coronavirus — South Africa Sees 500,000 Cases

  • Globally, South Africa is ranked fifth after the United States, Brazil, Russia and India.
  • South Africa has had more that 3 million tested for the virus.
  • The WHO had earlier warned that the country’s coronavirus situation is a projection of what is likely to happen in the continent.

South Africa has recorded more than 500,000 cases of the coronavirus. The death toll in the country stands at 8,153. The country leads in Africa, a continent that is fast approaching the 1 million mark in terms of cases of the virus, and is the hardest hit, since it accounts for half of Africa’s cases.

On 5 March 2020, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize confirmed that the virus spread to South Africa, with the first known patient being a South African returning from Italy. As of August 2, out of 3 million tests conducted, a total of 503,290 confirmed cases, 8,153 deaths, and 342,461 recoveries have been recorded.

Globally, South Africa is ranked fifth after the United States, Brazil, Russia and India. Pretoria and Guateng are the hardest hit regions in the country. The rise in the cases is attributed to the recent lifting of restriction in an effort to safeguard the economy.

South Africa has had more that 3 million tested for the virus. The country imposed a nationwide lockdown in March, a move that helped contain the spread of the virus, but since the restrictions were eased two months ago, the cases have spiked. The country has enforced a state of emergency until August 15, it also banned the sale of alcohol last month.

The surge in the numbers of new cases caused all public schools to be shut down last month for the second time. Schools were first closed in March. While announcing the closure President Cyril Ramaphosa had stated that the academic calendar will be extended, as he added that the schools will reopen on August 24. Before the announcement, most parents had already withdrawn their children from schools for fear of them contracting the virus.

The country’s health care system is overstretched, further crippling its effort to curb the virus. Social distancing in the country’s populated urban settlements has also proven a major obstacle in containing the spread.

Cyril Ramaphosa is a South African politician and the fifth and current President of South Africa. Previously an anti-apartheid activist, trade union leader and businessman, Ramaphosa served as the Deputy President of South Africa from 2014 to 2018.

Corruption is also another major problem that is pulling back the efforts to fight the pandemic. Last week on Thursday, a top health officer was forced to step down following corruption allegations on government contracts for the COVID-19 personal protective equipment.

Meanwhile, in a rare gesture, a church in the county has decided to honor those who have succumbed to the disease with white ribbons. The St. James Presbyterian Church in Johannesburg has its fence turned into a wall of white ribbons. It is alleged that the caretakers of the church tie up the ribbons on the fence as a representation of all the victims of the deadly pandemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had earlier warned that the country’s coronavirus situation is a projection of what is likely to happen in the continent. This is because South Africa was the first country to record the first case of the virus in the continent.

Most countries in Africa are currently having health facilities that are overstretched as experts warn that they are yet to reach their peak. The pandemic is a big blow to the continent whose populations are poor and with the current situation are faced with hunger and starvation.

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Juliet Norah

I am a freelance journalist is passionate about news. I derive pleasure in informing people about the happenings in the world

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