Nepal | August 13, 2020

South Africa hits 500,000 confirmed cases, still not at peak

Associated Press
Share Now:

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa on Saturday surpassed 500,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, representing more than 50% of all reported coronavirus infections in Africa’s 54 countries.

Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize announced 10,107 new cases Saturday night, bringing the country’s cumulative total to 503,290, including 8,153 deaths.

South Africa, with a population of about 58 million, has the fifth-highest number of cases in the world, behind the U.S., Brazil, Russia and India, all countries with significantly higher populations, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Experts say the true toll of the pandemic worldwide is much higher than confirmed cases, due to limited testing and other reasons.

“Half a million is a significant milestone, because it shows we’ve entered a stage of rapid increases. We may reach 1 million cases very quickly,” said Denis Chopera, a virologist based in Durban. “What we know for sure is that the figures are an underestimate and that this virus will be with us for a long time to come.”

South Africa’s Gauteng province — which includes Johannesburg, the country’s largest city and Pretoria, the capital — is the country’s epicenter with more than 35% of its confirmed cases. Local hospitals have been struggling to cope, and health experts say the country could reach the peak of its outbreak in late August or early September.

Cape Town, a city beloved by international tourists at the country’s southern tip, was the first epicenter and reached its peak last month, according to health experts.

South Africa will have multiple peaks across the country, each challenging its different provincial health care systems, said Chopera, executive manager of the Sub-Saharan African Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence.

“The Western Cape had the first peak and did relatively well. Gauteng is the epicenter now and appears to be coping so far,” he said. “Other provinces, like the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, do not have reputations for well-organized health care systems. They may have serious problems.”

South Africa imposed a strict lockdown in April and May that succeeded in slowing the spread of the virus but caused such economic damage that the country began a gradual reopening in June.

South Africa was already in recession before the coronavirus hit and its unemployment stands at 30%. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government has extended grants to the country’s poorest, increased supplies to hospitals and recently accepted a $4.3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Corruption in the country’s pandemic response is a growing problem. On Thursday the top health official in Gauteng province was forced to step down over corruption allegations related to government contracts for COVID-19 personal protective equipment.

Ramaphosa has warned that now, more than ever, South Africa’s persistent problem with widespread graft is endangering people’s lives.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Coronavirus vaccine: Russia ahead on track, who is next?

KATHMANDU: Over 150 vaccines are being developed and tested around the world to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, of which 28 are in human clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, Russia has become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 Read More...

Nepal COVID-19 Update: 484 new cases, 64 recoveries, eight deaths reported Wednesday

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Health Ministry, in its regular press briefing, shared the latest updates on coronavirus contagion from across the country, and government’s response to the health crisis. As of today, 473,179 tests through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method have been carried out wh Read More...

Nepal sees highest Covid-19 death toll in a single day; eight deaths reported Wednesday

KATHMANDU: Nepal has logged eight more Covid-19 related fatalities in the last 24 hours. This is the highest single day death-toll from the coronavirus infection recorded so far. Spokesperson at Ministry of Health and Population, Dr Jageshwar Gautam, informed public about the eight cases of fatal Read More...

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 20.41 million, death toll over 742,000

At least 20,414,289 people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 742,207 people have died, a Reuters tally showed.  Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.  Read More...

Pandemic and State: How is state accountable?

COVID-19 Global Lens The COVID-19 pandemic presents the world with a huge challenge: everyone and every area is affected, and the response has to be both quick and consorted. This pandemic may be primarily a health crisis for some states, but COVID-19 is also an education crisis, an employment an Read More...

Kathmandu valley's coronavirus cases hit another record; 138 new infections reported today

KATHMANDU: Kathmandu valley, yet again, recorded the highest single-day Covid-19 cases on Wednesday with 109 new cases in Kathmandu district, 21 in Lalitpur, and eight in Bhaktapur. A total of 138 new infections were reported today from inside the valley. With today’s additions, active case Read More...

Dhading district

One week prohibitory order issued in Dhading to contain COVID-19 spread

DHADING: A prohibitory order has been decreed in Dhading's headquarters Dhadingbesi and its peripheral areas with the increase in COVID-19 transmission, since Wednesday. In an attempt to curb further potential spread of the highly contagious infection, the District Administration Office took a de Read More...

Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt diagnosed with lung cancer

KATHMANDU: Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, who was rushed to hospital in Mumbai after complaining of chest discomfort and breathlessness, has been diagnosed with lung cancer. The news was confirmed by Bollywood's trade analyst and film industry insider Komal Nahta on August 11 night, according to I Read More...