COVID-19 May Have Infected 20 Million South Africans, Says New Research

South Africa’s Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has said new research showed that the confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the country may be significantly lower than the actual of people infected with the virus.

Mkhize said research estimates that 12 million people – about 20% of the country’s population could already have been infected with the coronavirus.

The country’s official cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases is 650,749.

The research is based on examining seroprevalence – the amount of antibodies present in a patient’s bloodstream.

In a statement released on Monday night, Dr Mkhize said a decline in cases has raised questions of what level of immunity might exist in the country.

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He explained initial samples had shown “seroprevalence of between 29 and 40%”.

A national seroprevalence study is now underway.

Vaccinologist and member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee, Professor Shabir Madhi, says the true number of infections may be even higher.

He estimates between 35% and 40% of South Africans in densely populated areas could already have been infected, pushing the possible number of infections as high as 20 million.

During the spike in July, between 10,000 and 15,000 new cases were reported daily.

But in the last 24 hours, just 956 new cases were identified. The death toll is 15,499, while the recovery rate remains high at 88.9%

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Meanwhile, South Africa received a donation of R50 million from the United Kingdom.

The donation is expected to be channelled towards projects supporting and promoting women’s empowerment.

International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Alvin Botes received the monetary donation and participated in a signing ceremony with the UK government on Monday.

The donation is aimed at extending the Solidarity Fund’s ongoing efforts to counter the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa, with a particular focus on women’s empowerment.

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