COVID19: SA becomes the first African country to have over one million infections

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As the second wave of COVID 19 continues to affect millions of people in other parts of the world, South Africa has become the first country in Africa to register more than one million Covid-19 cases, according to a report by  France24.

It comes just days after authorities confirmed that a new, faster-spreading, coronavirus variant had been detected.

This new development has put a heavy strain on resources because some hospitals and medical centers have reported a huge rise in admissions.

A new coronavirus variant known as 501.V2 is believed to be driving the surge in infections, It was identified by a network of South African scientists in the Eastern Cape province and then rapidly spread to other parts of the country.

The latest milestone was announced on Sunday, 27 December, by South Africa’s health minister, Zweli Mkhize. The country has now confirmed 1,004,413 Covid-19 infections and 26,735 deaths since the outbreak began in March.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is widely expected to announce tougher restrictions to prevent the virus from spreading further.

Last week, South Africa recorded a daily average of 11,700 new infections, a rise of 39% on the previous week and from Wednesday to Friday the daily number of new cases was above 14,000.

Earlier this week, the UK banned travel from South Africa because of the new variant.

After South Africa, the worst-hit country on the African continent is Morocco, which has seen 432,079 cases and 7,240 deaths.