South Africa, the country on the African continent most affected by the new coronavirus, has officially identified more than 500,000 cases of Covid-19, the Minister of Health announced on Saturday. More than a third of the cases have been identified in Gauteng province, where Johannesburg and Pretoria, the economic and administrative capitals of the country are located.
“Today, South Africa has passed the half-million mark of infected people, with a total of 503,290 confirmed cases of Covid-19,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in his daily statement .
South Africa is the fifth country in the world most affected by the pandemic in terms of confirmed cases. On her own, she recorded more than half of the cases of the new coronavirus on the African continent.
A low case fatality rate
In a separate statement, President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed the low case fatality rate of the virus in the country. “If South Africa is the fifth country in the number of cases, we only arrive at 36th position in number of deaths in proportion to the population,” he assured.
The death rate is indeed low, around 1.6%, according to the Ministry of Health.
The official death toll has surpassed 8,150, but it is vastly underestimated, warned experts, relying in part on the fact that South Africa has seen an almost 60% increase in the total number of deaths. natural in recent weeks.
40 to 50,000 additional deaths?
Between 40,000 and 50,000 people could die from Covid-19 by the end of the year in the country, according to official projections.
The country imposed one of the strictest confinements in the world at the end of March, before easing it. Faced with the explosion of contaminations, schools have just been closed again for one month and a nighttime curfew was reinstated.
The Covid-19 pandemic, which initially progressed more slowly in Africa than in other regions of the world, is now accelerating on the poorest continent, where public health systems are failing, which constitutes a source of concern for the World Health Organization (WHO).