South Africa reports second COVID-19 death as total cases hit 1,280

File photo: March 26, 2020. People wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus, walk at a taxi rank in Johannesburg, South Africa, It is just hours before South Africa goes into a nationwide lockdown for 21-days in an effort to mitigate the spread to the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe).
A boy in a school uniform, wearing a protective mask to protect against the coronavirus, walks past other boys playing at Alexandra township in South Africa, March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

South Africa reported the death of a second person from the deadly coronavirus as the country’s number of confirmed cases rose to 1,280.

According to a statement by the Minister of Health Dr Zwelini Mkhize, the deceased had an underlying skin cancer condition (melanoma), which had already complicated his health.

“The 74-year-old male had been in ICU and ventilation in a private hospital in Ladysmith. He had travelled to Kruger National Park with his family and came back with flu like symptoms. He was confirmed to be COVID-19 positive on the 27th March 2020,” the statement read in part.

Mkhize said that the deceased had shown certain symptoms, including respiratory distress, shortness of breath, cardiac failure, decreased saturation and his temperature was above 38 degrees.

Mkhize added that the family of the deceased, 14 health workers, among them 3 specialist doctors, who were in contact with the deceased were in quarantine and being monitored.

Meanwhile, Mkhize also announced that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases hit 1,280 an increase of 93 cases from the previous tally, as of March 29.

Gauteng Province accounts for about 45 percent of the country’s cases with 584 followed by the Western Cape with 310 (24 percent) and KwaZulu-Natal with 167 (9 percent). The other six provinces have recorded between six and 72 cases while 100 cases have not been designated to any region.

South Africa is the worst hit nation in Africa by the coronavirus. In response to the COVID-19 numbers, the South African government has announced several new measures to curb the spread of the disease.

The measures include the imposition of a 21-day lockdown and legally enforcing testing, treatment and quarantine or isolation of suspected cases. The spread of false information about COVID-19 is also now punishable by up to six months in prison.

Health experts have warned that even facilities in Africa’s richest nation, South Africa, could be overwhelmed by the virus’ spread.

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