South Africa Surpasses One Million COVID-19 Cases as New Variant Rapidly Spreads

South Africa has surpassed one million COVID-19 cases on Dec. 27, days after scientists identified a new variant of the virus in the worst-hit country in the region.

South Africa has surpassed one million COVID-19 cases on Dec. 27, days after scientists identified a new variant of the virus in the worst-hit country in the region.

“Today, we have breached one million cumulative cases of COVID-19 in South Africa, with a cumulative total of 1,004,413 cases reported,” South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced in the evening of Dec. 27.

According to health experts, the new COVID-19 variant — 501.V2 — is more transmissible and has rapidly spread in several areas, particularly in the south and southeast of the first country in the continent to record over one million cases.

Mediclinic International, a top private hospital network in South Africa, reported that the surge of cases placed strain on its healthcare resources.

“The numbers of patients seeking care within our hospitals has exceeded previous numbers during the first peak and the majority of our ICU and High Care units are operating at capacity,” Mediclinic International said on Dec. 27.

The health ministry also reported a total of 26,735 deaths.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to announce tougher restrictions in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus after calling an emergency meeting with the Coronavirus Command Council.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the total number of COVID-19 cases worldwide has reached 80,751,164 while the total number of deaths has reached 1,764,215.


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