“This morning we wake South Africans up with sad news that we now have our first death resulting from COVID-19,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement.
The death was in a hospital in the Westen Cape, just as our country joined other African nations in imposing strict curfews and shutdowns to halt the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
This morning, just hours after the country embarked on the nationwide military-patrolled lockdown, there were 927 reported confirmed cases, a more than 30 percent jump from yesterday. The minister promised to release more details later “when we announce the latest confirmed COVID-19 cases, which have increased from yesterday’s number and have tipped the 1,000 mark”.
What is South Africa doing to fight the virus?
On Thursday, 26 March, President Cyril Ramaphosa visited soldiers before they were deployed from a base in Soweto, Johannesburg.
“I send you out to go and defend our people against coronavirus,” he said, wearing a camouflage uniform.
“This is unprecedented, not only in our democracy but also in the history of our country, that we will have a lockdown for 21 days to go out and wage war against an invisible enemy, coronavirus.”
Only essential items are allowed to be sold. Alcohol and cigarette sales are banned. The Police Minister, Mr Bheki Cele urged Soth Africans to please comply to the rules set out by the government and to stay sober, stay home and be safe. Dog walking and jogging are also banned.