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South Africa Passes 700,000 Coronavirus Cases

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AFP) — The number of people in South Africa who have tested positive for coronavirus has topped 700,000, official figures showed overnight, another grim milestone for the continent’s worst-hit country.

Statistics released by the health ministry showed 2,019 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, taking the country’s total to 700,203.

Its total number of coronavirus-related deaths rose to 18,370 after 61 more were registered over the 24-hour reporting period.

South Africa accounts for around 43 percent of the continent’s diagnosed infections, followed by Morocco which has more than 160,000.

Its weekly average number of cases has been ticking up at around two percent, lower than the continent’s seven percent average increase over the past month, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

South Africa experienced its peak between July and August when daily new cases averaged around 12,000.

Strict lockdown rules and travel restrictions have since been eased, however, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has cautioned against complacency.

“We cannot tell whether we will get a second wave or not but the risk is there,” the minister told local media early this week.

“At this moment, we have not seen a rise that is indicating there is a second wave but we can’t say people must be complacent.”

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