South Africa exceeds 10,000 Covid deaths, 550,000 infections

By Nerea Gonzalez Pascual

Johannesburg, Aug 9 (efe-epa).- South Africa on Sunday surpassed 10,000 Covid-19 deaths and 550,000 infections, making it one of the worst-affected countries in the world by the pandemic.

The nation is the epicenter of the outbreak in Africa and the fifth hardest hit worldwide, although infection rates have recently begun to show early signs of improvement.

There have been 553,188 confirmed cases including 404,568 people who have recovered from the virus and 10,210 fatalities, according to official data.

South Africa’s infection focus has been the Gauteng province, home to one of the country’s three capitals Pretoria and its financial hub and largest city Johannesburg, where almost 191,000 cases have been reported.

Despite the large numbers, contagion rates have begun to show the first signs of improvement in August.

Over the past few days, there have been between 7,000 and 8,000 new daily cases in the country, a significant drop from the highest rate which was 13,000.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said earlier this week in a virtual press conference: “Although we are cautiously optimistic, it is too early to draw definitive conclusions about the fall observed.”

He added: “We will only know for sure when there has been a significant drop for a while.”

Official figures put South Africa’s virus death toll at almost half the global average, 1.85 percent compared to around four percent worldwide, but there are doubts about whether fatalities have been accurately counted.

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