South Africa has become a COVID-19 model for the continent in many ways since it confirmed its index case on 5th March, 2020. From the area of testing through to record number of recoveries, South Africa has been praised for pro-activeness in combating the virus.
The economic intervention measures rolled out by President Cyril Ramaphosa has also been classed as one of the most comprehensive across the continent. South Africa was one of the earliest to roll out such measures.
That President Ramaphosa is also the current Chairperson of the African Union, AU; means he has the delicate task of juggling national tasks withe the continental as Africa seeks global support to combat the pandemic.
Key statistics as at July 21
The total number of confirmed cases = 408,052
The total number of tests so far = 2,632,106
Total death toll = 6,093
Total recoveries = 236,260
Most impacted provinces = Guateng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Kwa Zulu-Natal
Global hot spot South Africa is seeing a “huge discrepancy” between confirmed COVID-19 deaths and an unusually high number of excess deaths from natural causes, while Africa’s top health official said Thursday the coronavirus is spreading there “like wildfire.”
A new report by the South African Medical Research Council, released late Wednesday, shows more than 17,000 excess deaths from May 6 to July 14 as compared to data from the past two years, while confirmed COVID-19 deaths have surpassed 6,000.
“The numbers have shown a relentless increase — by the second week of July, there were 59% more deaths from natural causes than would have been expected,” the report says.
The council’s president, Glenda Gray, said the excess deaths could be attributed to COVID-19 as well as other widespread diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis while many health resources are redirected toward the pandemic.
Meanwhile, some South Africans are thought to be avoiding health facilities as fears of the new virus spread and public hospitals are overwhelmed.
“The coronavirus storm has indeed arrived,” President Cyril Ramaphosa told the nation Thursday evening as cases surpassed 400,000. He announced that schools would “take a break” for a month to protect students.
South Africa now has the world’s fifth largest caseload. It makes up more than half the confirmed cases on the African continent with 408,052.
One of the country’s nurses was buried Thursday, the latest of more than 5,000 infected health workers across South Africa.
Duduzile Margaret Mbonane died just a month before her retirement, her husband said. She was 59. Colleagues dressed in white stood at her outdoor memorial and recited the nurses’ pledge of service.
Some were scared. “As I speak now, most of our colleagues are so infected,” fellow nurse Lindiwe Yeni said. “We looked after people not knowing. We only find that after two or three days.” She wants a rapid test for the virus.
“The government must assist our nurses with protective clothing,” said Duduzile’s husband, Herbert Mbonane. “Maybe my wi