South Africans On 21-Day Lockdown. Cases Jumped From 128 To 402 In 1 Day

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
coronavirus cases
South Africans will soon be in a 21-day lockdown after the country’s coronavirus cases jumped from 128 to 402 in a single day — the most in Africa. A minibus taxi driver wearing a face mask looks on during his journey in Kwa-Thema east of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Image: AP Photo/Themba Hadebe

This article has been updated with the South African president’s announcement of a 21-day lockdown.

South Africa is now the country with the most confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa following a surge in numbers that saw it replace Egypt as the most impacted African country.

South Africa’s coronavirus cases jumped to 402 on March 23, up 128 from the day before when the official number stood at 274, according to CNBCAfrica.

In reaction to that surge, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown that is set to begin on 26 March, EWN reports.

In a televised address to South Africans, Ramaphosa said that the army would be deployed to assist the police during the lockdown.

South Africans will still be able to leave their homes to buy food, receive medical care and collect social grants while the lockdown is in force.

The South African Department of Health has been the government entity reporting coronavirus numbers in the country, releasing daily numbers since COVID-19 was first discovered in South Africa.

South Africa’s first case was confirmed on March 5 and involved a South African man who returned with his wife from a trip to Italy.

Most of South Africa’s confirmed infections have been brought into the country by people who traveled to highly-infected areas in Europe and the U.S., but the number of cases that are locally transmitted is rising.

More than half of South Africa’s total cases are in Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg, the country’s largest city with 5.7 million people, and the capital, Pretoria, with 2.4 million, APNews reports.

There have not been any deaths yet among the South Africans infected with the coronavirus.

Reacting to the increasing COVID-19 cases in South Africa on March 16, President Ramaphosa imposed strict travel restrictions on travelers from hard-hit countries, closed schools and banned gatherings of more than 100 people.

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Until now, Egypt has been the African country with the most COVID-19 cases since the North African country’s first case was confirmed on Feb. 14.

The Egyptian case, a Chinese tourist, was the first confirmed instance of the coronavirus infection in Africa following the initial outbreak in December in the city of Wuhan, China.

Egypt has recorded 327 confirmed cases, with 14 deaths resulting from the virus outbreak in the country, according to the Egyptian Health Ministry.