At least 24,000 health workers in South Africa have contracted the coronavirus, 181 of whom have died since the pandemic hit the country in March, the health minister announced on Wednesday.
Speaking during a news conference, Health Minister Zweli Mkwize said that the numbers of health workers who tested positive for coronavirus stood at 24,104 with 181 deaths.
The number of infected health care workers translates to around five percent of the country’s total caseload, compared to the global rate of some 10 percent, he said.
The country’s caseload has been rising rapidly in recent weeks.
Health authorities have been expecting a surge in infections after the gradual loosening of a strict lockdown that was imposed on March 27, during the early stage of the pandemic.
South Africa now sits in the top five globally in terms of the number of infections.
South Africa is the hardest-hit country in Africa with at least 521,318 infections diagnosed so far, accounting for more than half the continent’s cases.