COVID-19: South African Infections Case Rises to 554, Highest in Africa

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South Africa’s coronavirus cases leaped again to 554 on Tuesday, the most of any country in Africa, as its 57 million people rushed to prepare for an unprecedented lockdown that begins Thursday.

“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.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the 21-day lockdown in an address to the nation on Monday, saying Africa’s most advanced economy needed to escalate its response to curb the spread of the outbreak.

“From midnight on Thursday, March 26 until midnight on Thursday, April 16, all South Africans will have to stay at home,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said late on Monday in a televised address to the nation.

“This is a decisive measure to save lives of South Africans from infections and to save lives of hundreds of thousands of our people,” he added. 

After reporting its first case of COVID-19 on March 5, the country now has the highest number of infections in sub-Saharan Africa. 

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