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First Covid-19 deaths in South Africa announced as infection toll reaches 1,000

Daily Maverick logo Daily Maverick 2020-03-27 Estelle Ellis

A robotic pulsating UV machine sterilizes a consulting room at the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, Wednesday, March 11, 2020 as a precaution against the new coronavirus. For most people the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. © (AP Photo/Denis Farrell) A robotic pulsating UV machine sterilizes a consulting room at the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, Wednesday, March 11, 2020 as a precaution against the new coronavirus. For most people the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. Hours after South Africa went into lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Minister of Health announced on Friday 27 March that two people had succumbed to Covid-19. 

The Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has announced that two patients died of Covid-19 in the Western Cape on Thursday night.

“This morning, we wake South Africans up with sad news that we now have our first deaths resulting from Covid-19. These two deaths occurred in the Western Cape; one at a private hospital and the other at a public hospital,” Mkhize said.

He added that the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has now surpassed 1,000 as overnight results became available. On Thursday night the number of cases was at 927.

Zweli Mkhize wearing a suit and tie © Copyright (c) Daily Maverick , All Rights Reserved Gauteng has 409 confirmed cases, the Western Cape 229 including the two patients who died, KwaZulu-Natal 134, the Free State 49, North West 5, Mpumalanga 9, Limpopo 6, the Eastern Cape 5 and the Northern Cape 2.

Mkhize said 79 cases were not allocated to a province.

The announcement came hours into the start of the first day that South Africans are spending in lockdown. The lockdown was announced after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the Covid-19 outbreak in the country a National State of Disaster earlier in March 2020.

South Africans have been ordered to stay at home and the army was deployed to assist the police in enforcing lockdown regulations. DM

South Africa in lockdown (Supplied by MSN) 

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