South Africa’s coronavirus deaths passed 1,000 on Monday and infections spiked to over 50,000 just a week after the continent’s worst-hit country further eased lockdown restrictions, official statistics showed.
The number of detected infections was 50,879 — the worst in Africa.
However, South Africa ranks second in terms of deaths at 1,080 after Egypt.
The continent’s most advanced economy has since May been gradually easing tight restrictions imposed in March.
It is now allowing some school children to return to classes and the majority of businesses to operate.
More than a half of all cases have been recorded in the last two weeks, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.
“As we watch the number of infections rise further -– probably far faster than most of us imagined –- we should be concerned, but not alarmed,” he said.
“That is because we have the ability… to limit the impact of the disease on our people,” he said.
Most of South Africa’s infections — around two-thirds — are found in the Western Cape province, a popular tourist destination home to the coastal city of Cape Town.
The World Health Organization said Monday that the coronavirus pandemic situation was worsening around the globe, although the situation was improving in Europe.