JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa has surpassed the UK in its number of confirmed coronavirus cases. That’s according to a Jealth Ministry statement and data compiled by Johns Hopkins University researchers.
New cases reported Tuesday gave South Africa the world's eighth-highest number of confirmed cases at 298,292, which represents nearly half of all the confirmed cases on the African continent.
President Cyril Ramaphosa this week said the country is now “confronted by the gravest crisis in the history of our democracy.”
He said many more infections have gone undetected despite South Africa conducting more than 2.2 million tests, by far the most of any African country.
A strict lockdown had delayed the surge in cases but it has been loosened under economic pressure. Now, what the president calls the “storm” has arrived and is already “stretching our resources and our resolve to their limits.”
South Africa grapples with the pandemic in the dead of winter, with temperatures in the outbreak epicenter, Gauteng province and Johannesburg, forecast to drop below freezing overnight. That makes ventilation a challenge especially in small, crowded homes for the poor.