Saturday, South Africa exceeded 500,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, accounting for more than 50 percent of all recorded coronavirus infections in 54 countries in Africa. Saturday night, Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize reported 10,107 new cases taking the country’s overall total to 503,290, including 8,153 deaths.
According to a survey by Johns Hopkins University, South Africa, with a population of around 58 million, has the fifth-highest number of cases in the world, behind the U.S., Brazil, Russia and India, all countries with far greater populations. Experts believe the real pandemic toll is much higher worldwide than reported incidents, due to insufficient research and other factors.
Before the coronavirus struck, South Africa was already in recession and its unemployment was 30%. The government of President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended grants to the poorest citizens in the world, expanded supplies to hospitals and recently approved an International Monetary Fund loan of $4.3 billion. Ramaphosa has warned that now, more than ever, South Africa’s persistent problem with widespread graft is endangering people’s lives.