COVID-19: South Africa cases hit 500,000; fifth largest in the World

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa | PHOTO COURTESY

South Africa’s Coronavirus cases have hit half a million, its health ministry has announced, while cases in Africa as a whole approached a million.

It has the fifth-highest number of cases in the world after the US, Brazil, Russia and India.

In its latest briefing, South Africa recorded 10,107 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, pushing the total to 503,290.

So far, South Africa has tested three million people since its first case five months ago, with 8,153 deaths have been recorded.

Africa has recorded 934,558 cases, 19,752 deaths and 585,567 recoveries, according to a Reuters tally.

South Africa imposed a nationwide lockdown at the end of March to curb the spread of the virus, but it has now eased many restrictions to boost economic activity.

“The lockdown succeeded in delaying the spread of the virus by more than two months, preventing a sudden and uncontrolled increase in infections in late March,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a separate statement.

Ramaphosa added that the daily increase in infections appears to be stabilizing, particularly in the worst-hit Western Cape, Gauteng and Eastern Cape provinces.

The influx of patients has put an incredible strain on South Africa’s hospitals and, healthcare professionals.

President Ramaphosa said last month that 28,000 hospital beds had been made available for Covid-19 patients but the country still faced a “serious” shortage of doctors and nurses.

Last week the World Health Organization warned that South Africa’s experience was a likely precursor to what would happen across the rest of the continent.