World

South Africa now 5th in world for coronavirus infections


By: AP | Johannesburg |

Published: July 19, 2020 9:54:45 am


Medical staff cleans a tent where Covid-19 patients are being treated at the Tshwane District Hospital in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday July 10, 2020. (AP Photo/File)

South Africa now ranks fifth in the world for confirmed coronavirus cases caseload as the African continent faces the pandemic’s first wave head-on.

South Africa on Saturday reported 13,285 new confirmed cases for a total of 350,879. That puts the country ahead of Peru and makes up roughly half the cases in Africa.

The only four countries with more confirmed cases  — the US, Brazil, India, and Russia  — all have far more people than South Africa’s 57 million.

The virus arrived on the continent a little later than elsewhere, giving officials more time to prepare, but Africa has fewer health care resources than any other region and South Africa’s public hospitals struggle to handle the growing number of patients.

Gauteng province, home to Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria, is now Africa’s epicentre for the virus. It has one-quarter of the country’s population and many of the poor are crowded in township areas with inadequate access to clean water and sanitation.

South Africa has seen 4,948 reported virus deaths, but the South African Medical Research Council in its most recent report shows the country had 10,944 “excess deaths” between May 6 and July 7.

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