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SA records first 2 COVID-19 deaths, cases surpass 1,000 mark

Minister Zweli Mkhize said more details surrounding the deaths would be released later in the day.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize at an inter-ministerial briefing on 24 March 2020 detailing how government will respond ahead of and during the 21-day lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Friday that South Africa has recorded its first COVID-19 related deaths, and that the number of cases increased to 1,000.

In a statement released on Friday morning, he said: "These two deaths occurred in the Western Cape. One at a private hospital and the other at a public hospital."

Mkhize said more details surrounding the deaths would be released later in the day.

"We will give more details later on, when we announce the latest confirmed COVID-19 cases, which have increased from yesterday’s number and have tipped the 1,000 mark."

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has since called on residents to join him as he observes a moment of silence at midday for two women who've died from COVID-19 in the province.

Winde said the 28-year-old and 48-year-old women both passed away on Friday morning.

THE 48-year-old patient's condition worsened while in ICU.

The younger woman was admitted to hospital on Thursday. Winde said in this case, the clinical picture was consistent with COVID-19 but officials were still waiting for test results to confirm this.

“We are just confirming that one of them is positive, I mean we assume it is from the symptoms but there has not been a conclusive test. But let’s just assume that both of them are coronavirus related and it really hits home; condolences to the families but it’s got real now.”

The premier has again appealed to residents to adhere to lockdown regulations.