South Africa concerned over surge in COVID-19 infections in Gauteng province

Soldiers on patrol interogates a resident amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Diepsloot, a shantytown north of Johannesburg, South Africa, April 16, 2020. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Members of the The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) keep watch as South Africa lifts a lockdown lasting two months, to try to revive the economy amid the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, in Soweto, South Africa. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The South African government raised concern over the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country’s Gauteng Province as the Ministry of Health announced the country had surpassed the 200,000 mark in reported cases.

Despite a continued surge in cases, South Africa remains caught up between imposing tougher restrictions to curb the virus’ spread and reviving the economy. South Africa reported 8,975 confirmed cases on Monday.

“Today we have breached the 200,000 mark, recording a cumulative total of 205,721 confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa,” a statement from the ministry on Monday said.

“1,864,111 tests have been completed in total of which 33,950 new tests are reported,” it added.

The Western Cape, Gauteng and Eastern Cape provinces remain the worst affected in South Africa accounting for nearly 90 percent of total cases in the country. However, Gauteng has recently experienced a surge in its number of cases and may surpass those of the Western Cape.

Western Cape has recorded 70,938 confirmed cases followed by Gauteng with 66,891 and Eastern Cape with 38,081. With the exception of Kwa-Zulu Natal (15,819), all other provinces have reported less than 15,000 cases cumulatively.

Health minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize had previously warned that Gauteng was expected to emerge as the country’s COVID-19 epicentre. According to the government, the factors contributing to this are: inward migration, large population sizes in the metros and congregation of people.

Mkhize said that special interventions in the province were being implemented, including additional nursing staff and fast-tracking beds.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 related deaths in the country rose to 3,310 while the number of recoveries increased to 97,848.

Despite registering a high number of confirmed cases, Gauteng (403) has recorded significantly fewer deaths than the Western Cape (2,101). The Eastern Cape is second on the list with a total of 528 fatalities.

“Regrettably, we report a further 111 COVID-19 related deaths- 9 from Eastern Cape, 17 from Limpopo, 35 from Western Cape and 50 from Gauteng. This brings the total deaths to 3 310,” the statement said.

Among the deaths reported on Monday was that of a provincial official, Gordon Kegakilwe, the MEC of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs in the North West.

According to the ministry, Kegakilwe was also battling a bout of pneumonia when he got infected.

“He was admitted yesterday in a private hospital in Vryburg and was subsequently transferred to Klerksdorp where he suffered a cardiac arrest on arrival.”

“He was a tried and tested leader with an illustrious political career that led to his occupancy of this key position in provincial leadership. It is crushing to lose such talent at the prime of his life.”

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