South Africa’s COVID-19 cases hit 1,462

South African Defense Forces patrol downtown Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday, March 27, 2020. Police and army started patrolling moments after South Africa went into a nationwide lockdown for 21 days in an effort to mitigate the spread to the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay).

The spread of COVID-19 continued unabated in South Africa on Thursday, with 82 new cases reported, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.

The total number of infections in the country reached 1,462 and the death toll remained at five, Mkhize said in Bloemfontein, Free State Province, where he visited the Universitas Academic Hospital.

The country has not reported new coronavirus-related deaths since Wednesday.

The officially confirmed death tally did not include the death of world-renowned South African HIV scientist Gita Ramjee who reportedly died of COVID-19 complications in Durban on Tuesday.

The 64-year-old scientist reportedly contracted the virus during a recent trip to London.

Mkhize urged the public to observe the national lockdown which began on midnight March 26 in order to curb the spread of the virus. However, breach of the lockdown has been reported across the country.

According to Police Minister Bheki Cele, 2,289 people have been arrested for violating regulations since the start of the lockdown.

South Africa, which reported its first case on March 5, has the largest caseload on the African continent.

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