About 24,000 South African health workers have contracted coronavirus and at least 181 of them have died, health minister Zweli Mkwize told a news conference on Wednesday.
South Africa is the hardest hit African country and the fifth in the world. With at least 521,318 infections diagnosed so far, it now accounts for more than half of all the cases in Africa, according to a tally by the Africa CDC.
Mkwize told journalists the numbers of health workers who tested positive for coronavirus stood at 24,104 with 181 deaths. In all, at least 8,884 people have died in South Africa from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
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The minister said the tally translates to around five percent of the country’s total caseload, compared to the global rate of some 10 percent.
Mkwize threatened to act against hospital administrators who failed to ensure workplace safety. He said, the number of cases begun to slow recently, but warned it would be too slow to draw conclusions.
“We are not out of the woods yet, but so far we have fought a good fight,” he said. “We haven’t got to the stage where we don’t have hospital space for patients,” he said.
Overall, 980,832 people have contracted COVID-19 in Africa, 656,040 of them have recovered and 21,102 have died, the Africa CDC data show.