South Africa's confirmed cases of COVID-19 have crossed half a million, its health ministry has announced, while cases in Africa as a whole approached a million.
Each CPAP device consists of some 30 separately manufactured components, he said, adding that final assembly now takes place at the Cape Town factory of medical supplies firm Akacia Medical ahead of distribution to hospitals across the country. Restrictions on travel have disrupted a deeply important cultural practice for many Black residents in Cape Town: returning the body for burial hundreds of miles home in the Eastern Cape province.
He was speaking during virtual national summit looking at South Africa's response to the Covid-19 pandemic on Friday morning.
So far, the number of fatalities stands at 8,153, although local researchers have recorded a jump of almost 60 percent in the overall number of natural deaths in recent weeks, suggesting a far higher toll of coronavirus-related fatalities than officially recorded.
But a report released by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) late last month showed that there are large discrepancies in the number of reported coronavirus-related deaths and the number of "excess deaths" from natural causes.
South Africa was already in recession before the coronavirus hit, and its unemployment stands at 30 percent.
South Africa is now fifth in the world in number of reported cases, trailing behind the United States with a confirmed 4.6 million cases, Brazil with 2.6 million cases, India with almost 1.7 million cases and Russian Federation with over 800,000 confirmed cases.
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South Africa's case load has been rising rapidly in recent weeks.
South Africa imposed a strict lockdown in April and May that slowed the spread of the coronavirus.
"Our recovery rate is now around 68%".
South Africa has one of the best health care systems on the continent, but it has been rocked by alleged corruption in the supply of personal protective gear for health workers in public hospitals.
A reported $26 million in economic relief was granted to South Africa, though the aid was marred by allegations of corruption - forcing the top health official in the Gauteng province to step down after corruption accusations regarding COVID-19 contracts surfaced this week.
"It is unconscionable that there are people who may be using this health crisis to unlawfully enrich themselves", Ramaphosa said in his statement Saturday.
Slightly more than three million people have so far been tested for the virus in South Africa, which confirmed its first case five months ago, and 8,153 deaths have been recorded.
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