South Africa’s COVID-19 death toll surpasses 40,000

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 27: People wearing face masks walk at a street as they continue their daily life amid coronavirus (Covid-19) in Cape Town, South Africa on December 27, 2020. (Photo by Xabiso Mkhabela/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in South Africa exceeded 40,000 after the Ministry of Health reported 575 additional deaths on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: People wearing face masks walk at a street as they continue their daily life amid coronavirus (Covid-19) in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Xabiso Mkhabela/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“Regrettably, we report 575 more COVID-19 related deaths: Eastern Cape 129, Free State 37, Gauteng 166, Kwa-Zulu Natal 133, Mpumalanga 18, Northern Cape 15 and Western Cape 77. This brings the total to 40,076 deaths,” the ministry said in a statement.

Eastern Cape has reported the highest number of deaths in the country with 9,984 followed by Western Cape with 9,668 then Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal with 7,396 and 7,177 respectively.

The ministry also reported 11,761 new confirmed cases taking the total number in the country to 1,392,568.

The Health minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize noted there had been a decline in transmission as shown by lower numbers of new cases, a steadily declining positivity rate and what he termed as “promising evidence” of downward deflection of admission numbers.

“We are hoping that this decline in numbers is going to bring the much-required reprieve to our overwhelmed health facilities, both in the public and private sector,” Mkhize said.

He, however, cautioned that the transmission rate was still quite high and it needed to reduce to “an acceptable level” before any proposals on reducing the existing restrictions were put forward.

“We are closely monitoring this to inform our process of recommending the review of some of the restrictions that are currently in place.”

Earlier this month, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa imposed stricter measures, such as the closure of land borders, to contain the spread of the virus in Africa’s worst-affected country.

Ramaphosa said the number of new infections, hospital admissions and deaths being reported had become “far higher” than they had ever been since the country recorded its first case in March last year.

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