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South Africa reports 24-hour record of 1,160 new virus cases

Susan Njanji - Agence France-Presse
South Africa reports 24-hour record of 1,160 new virus cases
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) nurse Bhelekazi Mdlalose (3rd L), 51, illustrates how to perform a swab test on a nurse participating in a COVID-19 coronavirus training course for nurses at the City of Joburg Civic Centre in Roodeport, Johannesburg, on May 13, 2020. Bhelekazi Mdlalose, who is employed by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), left her family and usual job in the mountain town of Rustenberg in March 2020 to support community work in Johannesburg.
AFP / Michele Spatari

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — South Africa on Sunday reported 1,160 new coronavirus infections, the highest daily number since the first case was recorded in March, data released by the health ministry showed

"As of today, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa is 15,515 with 1,160 new cases identified in the last 24 hour cycle of testing," said the ministry statement.

The Western Cape province, popular with tourists, accounted for nearly 60 percent of the national numbers.

The numbers of deaths rose by three to 263 from Saturday.

Africa's most industrialised economy has the highest numbers of infections in Africa, followed by Egypt which has so far recorded 11,719 COVID-19 cases, including 612 deaths.

The country has been under a lockdown since March 27 — one of the world's most stringent confinements which include a ban on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol.

It has since embarked on an aggressive mass-testing strategy with 460,873 people tested so far.

But some health experts are beginning to see the limits of the country's lauded mass screening strategy, with results taking up to two weeks to come through.

Government has started to partially ease the lockdown regulations and is doing so in phases.

The economic costs of the lockdown have stoked disagreement in some quarters, with at least one advisor recently criticising certain aspects of the restrictions.

The opposition has also grown increasingly critical of the administration of President Cyril Ramaphosa's response to the outbreak.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance party on Thursday filed a legal suit challenging the rationale behind some of the coronavirus lockdown rules.

On Sunday Health Minister Zweli Mkhize came to Ramaphosa's defence and appealed for national unity in the fight against coronavirus.

"We need to be working together, we need to be united, we need to be strong to face this pandemic," he said in a eulogy at a memorial for a senior ruling ANC official and medical doctor who succumbed to COVID-19 related illness.

Doctor Clarence Mini died last week aged 69 after being hospitalised for more than a month.

He said Ramaphosa was doing "outstanding" work and that his decisions were informed by science.

"When there are people who are concerned whether there is science behind the decisions taken, there can only be science about it because we work with a whole group of medical experts who have various views.

"But at the end of the day we remain confident that the approaches we have taken are the best.

"There is a lot that is unknown about the disease which we might actually teach the world about or learn from the world about."

He added: "We just need to work together united and strong — until we see this outbreak through."

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS

SOUTH AFRICA

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 25, 2022 - 4:46pm

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

June 25, 2022 - 4:46pm

China reports zero new COVID-19 infections in Shanghai for the first time since March on Saturday, as the country's latest outbreak subsides after months of virus-spurred lockdowns and restrictions.

China is the last major economy still committed to a zero-Covid strategy, stamping out new cases with a combination of targeted lockdowns, mass testing and lengthy quarantines.

The economic hub of Shanghai was forced into a months-long lockdown during a Covid surge this spring driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, while the capital Beijing shuttered schools and offices for weeks over a separate outbreak. — AFP

June 13, 2022 - 4:20pm

Beijing starts a new round of mass testing in its most populous downtown district after a rapidly spreading outbreak linked to a bar saw Covid rules tightened again in the capital.

A night of partying by one Beijing resident last week threw the city's tentative reopening into chaos, leading authorities to shutter nightlife venues in the downtown district of Chaoyang days after they reopened last Monday. 

The resident, who did not get tested for 14 days, went to several bars and nightlife venues in Chaoyang in the days before and after developing a fever.

The outbreak stemming from the Heaven Supermarket bar has infected at least 183 people in 15 districts so far. — Agence France Presse

June 9, 2022 - 1:04pm

City authorities say that Shanghai will lock down a district of 2.7 million people on Saturday to conduct mass coronavirus testing as the Chinese metropolis struggles to fully emerge from punishing curbs.

The city eased many restrictions last week, after confining most of its 25 million residents to their homes since March as China battled its worst COVID-19 outbreak in two years.

But the lockdown was never fully lifted, with hundreds of thousands in China's biggest city still restricted to their homes and multiple residential compounds put under fresh stay-home orders.— AFP

June 5, 2022 - 5:09pm

City officials say Beijing will gradually lift COVID-19 restrictions this week.

After some easing in recent days, the Chinese capital -- which reported 19 new infections Sunday -- announced residents would start returning to work from Monday and schools would reopen from June 13.

China is wedded to a zero-COVID strategy of hard lockdowns, mass testing and long quarantine periods to wipe out clusters as they emerge. — AFP

June 2, 2022 - 7:32am

The World Health Organization laments Wednesday that it had no access to data about North Korea's COVID-19 outbreak, but assumed the crisis was deepening, contrary to Pyongyang's reports of "progress".

North Korea, which announced its first ever coronavirus cases on May 12, said last week its COVID-19 outbreak had been brought under control, with state media reporting falling caseloads.

But WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan questions that claim. — AFP

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