South Africa becomes global Covid-19 hotspot with surges in Gauteng

By Nerea González

Johannesburg, Jul 9 (efe-epa).- With around 225,000 coronavirus cases and 3,600 deaths, South Africa has become one of the world’s Covid-19 hotspots with substantial outbreaks in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The country is not only the worst-affected in Africa, but it is the fifth in the world in terms of active cases, with around 140,000.

There are some 10,000 new cases detected each day in South Africa, a figure eclipsed only by the likes of the United States, Brazil and India.

South Africa’s health minister Zweli Mkhize told Parliament Wednesday: “The storm that we have consistently warned South Africans about is now arriving.”

He added that the nation had to be united in the campaign against Covid-19.

The outlook is particularly bleak when compared to the relatively slow advance of the virus in other African nations — although many do not report as accurately as South Africa.

Despite the measures taken, President Cyril Rhamaphosa’s efforts to contain the spread seem to have fallen just short.

His government implemented one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, which took a huge toll on the economy, and launched mass testing programs.

The transmission of Covid-19 resisted the measures and the lifting of the lockdown on 1 June was the final push the virus needed to take hold, particularly in the province of Gauteng, home to both Pretoria and Johannesburg.

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