South African police service hit by COVID-19 pandemic

South Africa COVID-19 /Getty Images
FILE PHOTO: A man walks past the words “Coronavirus” painted on a wall, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Soweto, South Africa, May 31, 2020. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the South African Police Service (SAPS), claiming the lives of 14 officers and infecting 1,685 others, Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Sunday.

The Western Cape province, the country’s epicenter of the pandemic, has the highest number of 1,134 positive cases, followed by the Eastern Cape with 186, Gauteng with 119 and KwaZulu-Natal with 53.

Over 600 of the infected officers have recovered from this virus and are back to work, the minister said.

The number of police officers infected with COVID-19 almost doubled since the end of May, when Cele last announced the statistics.

The latest development came as the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa stood at 65,736 as of Saturday, up by 3,809 from Friday, the highest daily record since the country reported its first case on March 5.

South Africa also reported 69 new deaths related with COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the death toll to 1,423.

The country is the worst affected by the pandemic in Africa.