S. Africa records 399 Covid-19 deaths as cases rise to18,000

Thursday May 21 2020

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at a Covid-19 treatment centre in Johannesburg. South Africa recorded a total of 399 deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic as of May 20, 2020, an increase of 27 in 24 hours, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said. PHOTO | JEROME DELAY | POOL | AFP


Cape Town

South Africa recorded a total of 399 deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic as of Wednesday, an increase of 27 in the past 24 hours, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.

"Sadly we have recorded the first neonatal mortality related to Covid-19," Mr Mkhize said.

The victim was a two-day-old baby who was born prematurely and therefore had lung difficulties which required ventilation support immediately after birth, according to Mr Mkhize.

The mother had tested positive for the coronavirus and the child was found infected too, the minister said.



Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa has risen to 18,003, up by 803 from Tuesday's figure, said Mr Mkhize.

Nationwide, the total number of recoveries to date stands at 8,950, Mr Mkhize said.

A total of 505,861 tests have been conducted so far, with 18,252 done in the last 24-hour cycle, he said.

The Western Cape province remained the epicentre with 11,262 confirmed cases and 210 deaths, followed by Gauteng with 2,400 cases and 27 deaths, the Eastern Cape with 2,215 cases and 45 deaths, and KwaZulu-Natal with 1,650 cases and 46 deaths.

On Tuesday night, the South African government published, for the first time, the modelling or projections for the Covid-19 pandemic, showing that between 40,000 and 45,000 South Africans could die from Covid-19 by November, with the existing intensive care unit beds expected to be overwhelmed.

The release of the projections followed intense criticism against a lack of transparency about the modelling and other Covid-19 data.