South Africa, the country on the African continent most affected by the new coronavirus, has officially recorded more than 500,000 cases of COVID-19, the Minister of Health announced on Saturday.
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“Today, South Africa has passed the half-million mark of infected people, with a total of 503,290 confirmed cases of COVID-19,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in his statement. daily.
More than a third of the cases have been recorded in Gauteng Province, where Johannesburg and Pretoria, the country’s economic and administrative capitals, are located.
In a separate statement, President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed the low case fatality rate of the virus in the country.
“If South Africa is the fifth country in number of cases, we arrive only 36th in number of deaths in proportion to the population”, he assured.
The death rate is low, around 1.6%, according to the Ministry of Health.
South Africa is the fifth country in the world most affected by the pandemic in terms of confirmed cases. On its own, it has recorded more than half of the cases of the new coronavirus on the black continent.
The official death toll has passed 8,150, but it is vastly underestimated, experts have warned.
Between 40,000 and 50,000 people could die from COVID-19 by the end of the year in the country, according to official projections.
The country imposed one of the strictest confinements in the world at the end of March, before easing it. Faced with the explosion of contaminations, schools have once again been closed for a month and a night curfew has been reinstated.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which initially progressed less quickly in Africa than in other regions of the world, is now accelerating on the poorest continent, where public health systems are failing, which constitutes a source of concern for the World Health Organization (WHO).