Coronavirus cases are beginning to soar in South Africa three weeks after the country eased one of the most draconian lockdowns on earth.
Over the weekend, Africa’s most industrialised nation recorded more than 8,100 new cases of Covid-19 bringing its total up to 70,000.
In late March, South Africa imposed sudden and sweeping lockdown measures to limit the spread of the virus bringing life to an almost complete stop. South Africans were only allowed to go out to buy food or visit the doctors, while the sale of alcohol and cigarettes was banned entirely.
The two-month-long lockdown was effective at slowing the spread. However, the measures wrought havoc on the economy.
South Africa’s GDP is expected to contract by some 7 per cent, and some predictions say that unemployment could rise to a staggering 50 per cent in 2020.
These bleak indicators and lines for food handouts stretch for miles forced the government in Pretoria to ease most lockdown measures three weeks ago.
The South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis says that cases will continue to rise until they peak between early July and August and that a total of 35,000 to 50,000 South Africans could die from the virus.
The latest figures mean that South Africa now accounts for 25 per cent of the African continent’s confirmed coronavirus cases. https://cf-particle-html.eip.telegraph.co.uk/13b5940f-9536-42ad-897e-5ef8a85a9382.html?ref=https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/south-africas-draconian-lockdown-relaxed-cases-begin-soar/&title=As%20South%20Africa%27s%20draconian%20lockdown%20is%20relaxed,%20cases%20begin%20to%20soar%C2%A0
However, these statistics must be treated with caution. South Africa has carried out over 1.1 million tests since the crisis began, fifty times more than Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad have done combined.
The news of the surge in cases in South Africa follows warnings from the World Health Organisation a few days ago saying that Covid-19 was now spreading rapidly out of Africa’s urban areas into rural areas where health services are often limited or non-existent.
Africa accounts for only about 3 per cent of the world’s confirmed coronavirus cases. However, the pandemic is now accelerating rapidly. It took three months for Africa to reach 100,000 confirmed cases, but it took less than three weeks to get to the 200,000 cases.