Two people have died as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19), says the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize.
“This morning, we wake South Africans up with sad news that we now have our first deaths resulting from COVID-19,” Mkhize said in a statement on Friday (March 27).
The deaths occurred in the Western Cape: one at a private hospital and the other at a public hospital.
The deaths come as South Africa entered the first day of a 21-day national lockdown aimed at slowing down the spread of the virus.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the lockdown in a televised address to the nation. It will remain effective until midnight on April 16.
Six key actions from the WHO
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on all countries who have introduced “lockdown” measures to use this time to attack the Coronavirus.
The call by WHO comes as South Africa has entered into a nationwide lockdown for 21 days in bid to curb the rapid spread of the virus.
For countries going into lockdown, WHO recommended six key actions that can assist in defeating the scourge of COVID-19.
First, expansion, training and deployment of healthcare workers; second, the tracing of every suspected case at community level; third, ramping up the production, capacity and availability of testing.
“Fourth, identify, adapt and equip facilities you will use to treat and isolate patients. Fifth, develop a clear plan and process to quarantine contacts.
“And sixth, refocus the whole of government on suppressing and controlling COVID-19,” said Tedros Ghebreysus (WHO Director General)