South Africa tops 1 million coronavirus cases

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced new tougher coronavirus restrictions, a day after South Africa recorded more than one million Covid-19 cases.

South Africa reported 14,305 new coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 968,563, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced Thursday.

He also chaired a virtual meeting of the President's Coordinating Council (PCC) and met with Cabinet on Monday. Also, the United Kingdom, in turn, has restricted travel from South Africa.

Mkhize said 214 deaths were recorded, bringing the total number of fatalities to 26,735.

"Thanks to the impressive genomic capability of the South Africans, we've detected two cases of another new variant of coronavirus here in the UK", Hancock said.

The president urged South Africans to wear masks and take other measures.

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South Africa on Thursday reported 14,305 fresh cases taking the overall total to 968,563. Nigeria has over 81,000 cases of the coronavirus, and has suffered over 1,200 deaths.

A medical staff attends to a COVID-19 patient at a special ward at Arwyp Medical Centre, as South Africa is about the reach a milestone of 1 million infections, in Kempton Park, South Africa, December 25, 2020. South Africa is struggling with the spread of the virus.

When South Africa had a total ban on liquor sales, trauma cases in hospitals dropped by as much as 60%, according to government? statistics.

He said gatherings excepts for funerals and a few other limited exceptions would be banned, no-one would be able to leave their homes between 21:00 and 6:00 without a permit, and all shops, bars and other venues would have to close by 20:00.

Africa's worst-hit country previously banned alcohol sales in March when it was battling its first wave of infections.

Mr Mkhize said the new figures indicate that South Africa is experiencing a second wave of the pandemic and government would need to consider further restrictions.

"I will light a candle in Cape Town at exactly midnight on New Year's Eve in memory of those who have lost their lives and in tribute to those who are on the frontline working to save our lives and protect us from harm", he said.

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