South Africa’s Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Monday that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had risen to 402, a jump of 128 since Sunday’s announcement that could worry public health experts concerned about the country’s readiness to deal with the epidemic.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a national state of disaster and imposed measures like travel bans to curb the spread of coronavirus. He is expected to address the nation later on Monday on new measures to mitigate the impact of the virus.
Last week, Angola, Eritrea and Uganda confirmed their first cases of coronavirus, while Mauritius recorded its first death as the virus spreads across Africa despite measures by governments to hold it back.
Two male residents who flew back from Portugal on March 17-18 have tested positive, Angolan Health Minister Silvia Lutucuta said on Saturday, while Eritrea said its first case was a 39-year-old national who had arrived from Norway.
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Uganda’s first case was announced early on Sunday by Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng. She said the man flew in to the country from Dubai on Saturday and was in stable condition.
More than 1,000 cases have now been reported across Africa, according to the World Health Organization.
There are concerns that the continent will not be able to handle a surge in cases without the depth of medical facilities available in more developed economies.
Zimbabwe reported its first case on Friday, and a second on Saturday, while the island of Mauritius, with 14 cases, reported its first death, a person who had traveled from Belgium via Dubai.
Many African countries have already shut their borders, closed schools and universities and barred large public gatherings.
In South Africa, which has the most cases in sub-Saharan Africa, more citizens have taken to wearing masks and gloves in public as the number of confirmed cases rose on Saturday to 240.