South Africa's coronavirus cases jump again above 700

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Men carrying recycling material walk in the industrial area in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, a day after it w...
A man pulling a trolley loaded with recycling material walks in the industrial area in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, March 24...
A man running on top of a sewage pipe at Katlehong, east of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, a day after it was announced that Sou...
A man wearing a mask, sells traditional hats on the street in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, a day after it wa...

Men carrying recycling material walk in the industrial area in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, a day after it w...

A man pulling a trolley loaded with recycling material walks in the industrial area in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, March 24...

A man running on top of a sewage pipe at Katlehong, east of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, a day after it was announced that Sou...

A man wearing a mask, sells traditional hats on the street in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, a day after it wa...

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's coronavirus cases jumped again to 709, the health minister said Wednesday, as the country with the most cases in Africa prepared to go into lockdown.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced the new number on state television and pointed out a worrying cluster of cases in Free State province among attendees of a church gathering where five cases were reported. All were in people who had recently traveled abroad.

South Africa's lockdown begins first thing Friday.

Cases across Africa are now well above 2,000. With Libya announcing its first case, 44 of the continent's 54 countries now have the virus.

Congo became the latest country to close its borders while reporting its third death. The sprawling nation has one of Africa's weakest health systems and has been battling another global health emergency, a deadly Ebola virus outbreak in the east.

While that outbreak now appears to be within days of being declared over, Congo also faces a large measles outbreak.