- Title: South Africa COVID-19 cases cross 300,000, despite early lockdown
- Date: 15th July 2020
- Summary: CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (FILE - MAY 26, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF BEDS IN MAKESHIFT HOSPITAL SET UP AT THE CAPE TOWN CONVENTION CENTRE JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (FILE - MAY 6, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF LOCAL WOMEN MANUFACTURING COFFINS IN WORKSHOP
- Embargoed: 29th July 2020 19:12
- Keywords: 000 300 COVID-19 South Africa coronavirus hospitals testing
- Location: JOHANNESBURG AND CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
- City: JOHANNESBURG AND CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Health/Medicine,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA003CMX9FLZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:South Africa's cases of COVID-19 crossed 300,000 on Wednesday (July 15), the most in Africa and amongst the top 10 in the world.
Africa's most industrialised nation recorded a rise of 12,757 cases on Wednesday to reach 311,049 confirmed COVID-19 cases, its health ministry said in a late evening statement, a little over four months since the first case was confirmed in the country.
It has tested 2,278,127 people so far and has seen a total of 160,693 recoveries and 4,453 deaths, the statement said.
At the end of March, President Cyril Ramaphosa took aggressive, early action, shutting shops, ordering people to stay at home and sending the army on to the streets to enforce it - when South Africa had only 400 cases and no recorded deaths.
The government later eased many curbs over fears for its struggling economy.
But with the world's fourth-largest daily increase in coronavirus cases in a country of 58 million people, an exasperated Ramaphosa on Sunday reimposed an alcohol ban and a night curfew.
About half of South Africans live in poverty, and about a third are unemployed - some three million have lost their jobs since the lockdown began, according to a study by South Africa's Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (CRAM) released on Tuesday (July 14).
In many parts of the country, COVID-19 wards are packed, so patients are spilling out into other parts of hospitals tents outside, health officials say.
With just 4,346 deaths, barely 1.5% of cases have proved fatal so far, in part because of a young population. That will rise as shortages of oxygen and hospital beds worsen. Ramaphosa said scientists had predicted up to 50,000 deaths.
At public hospitals, which were struggling with capacity anyway, medics have complained about a lack of staff and protective equipment.
Gauteng, the province at the epicentre and home to the biggest city, Johannesburg, is adding beds, setting up field hospitals, and boosting numbers of medical workers.
(Production: Shafiek Tassiem, Sisipho Skweyiya)
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