South African COVID-19 cases rise to 554, highest in Africa

COVID-19 cases surge in Nigeria again


South Africa, on Tuesday, said its number of confirmed COVID-19 cases have risen to 554, up by 152 cases from the day before, making it the continent’s worst-affected nation.

“Two people were in critical condition in intensive care units in private hospitals,’’ the South African Health Ministry said.

South African citizens and businesses, meanwhile, tried to prepare for a nationwide three-week lockdown.

It is scheduled to begin at midnight on March 26, during which only essential services will remain operational, including supermarkets, petrol stations, deliveries of essential goods and medical services.

The West African nation of Ghana, meanwhile, announced its second death due to COVID-19, with the number of confirmed cases, reaching 52.

Guinea, which conducted legislative elections and a constitutional referendum on Sunday, said it confirmed four cases of COVID-19 and closed its international airport in response.

In East Africa, Uganda’s Health Ministry reported eight additional coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of patients to nine.

“All new patients had recently returned home from Dubai,’’ the ministry said.

In Chad, which has reported three COVID-19 cases so far, all patients are foreigners who recently arrived in the Central African nation.

“Among the patients were an Indian, a French national and a Moroccan citizen,’’ state Minister, Kalzeube Payimi Deubet, said.

According to the World Health Organisation and individual country reports, Africa had been largely spared from the pandemic for weeks.

However, the continent has now recorded over 1,000 cases and over 20 deaths.

There are concerns that weak national health systems in Africa will be quickly overwhelmed by the pandemic, which has so far killed over 15,000 people globally. (dpa/NAN)