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SA’s COVID-19 cases now at 538,184 – Africa surpasses 1m mark

The health ministry announced the deaths of 306 more people after they contracted the coronavirus. This pushes the national toll for COVID-19 related fatalities to 9, 604.

Emergency paramedics wearing a full COVID-19 coronavirus personal protective equipment (PPE) transfer an empty gurney to an ambulance at the Greenacres Hospital in Port Elizabeth, on 10 July 2020. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – On Thursday, the Health Ministry announced more than 8,300 new cases were detected in South Africa over the past 24-hour cycle.

The new cases bring the number of known infections in this country, since March, to 538,000.

According to the ministry, 306 more people have died after they contracted the coronavirus. This pushes the national toll for COVID-19 related fatalities to 9, 604.

The recovery rate is now at 72%, with 387,000 people having recovered thus far.

AFRICA SURPASSES A MILLION CORONAVIRUS CASES

Coronavirus has now infected more than a million people in Africa, but hopes that the pandemic may be peaking in some countries are also leavened by fear of a second wave.

Nations across the continent have recorded 1,000,054 infections and at least 21,724 deaths, accounting for around 5% of global cases, according to an AFP tally as of Thursday.

Just five countries account for 75% of all cases in Africa, the continent's health watchdog, the Africa Centres for Diseases Control, says.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday some countries have recently seen declines of around 20% in daily cases but it was too early to confirm this as a trend, while around 10 countries are still experiencing increases.

Countries with high infections relative to the size of their populations are South Africa, Djibouti, Gabon, Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe.

South Africa accounts for 53% of the continental caseload and is the fifth in the world.

The good news is that numbers of daily infections have slightly decreased in recent days to below 10,000 cases compared to an average 12,000 during much of July.

On Wednesday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Tuesday that cases in the epicentre, the commercial hub of Gauteng province, appeared to be plateauing.

But he warned the risk of a second wave remained: "we are not out of the woods yet".

Additional reporting by AFP

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