South Africa recorded 547 new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, bringing the country’s total death toll to 44,946, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced.
Mkhize said health officials also discovered 2,649 more coronavirus cases after conducting 28,942 new tests.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases identified in the country is now 1,458,958.
“We offer our condolences to the relatives of the deceased and thank the health care workers who treated the deceased patients,” the minister said, adding that the country had carried out more than 8.3 million tests for the virus.
More than 1.3 million people have recovered from the deadly respiratory disease to date, according to Mkhize.
On Monday, South Africa received its first shipment of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.
“The shipment, which consists of one million doses of Covishield vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, has arrived at OR Tambo International Airport,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation.
Ramaphosa said the vaccines will be tested at the country’s National Control Laboratory to confirm that their integrity has been maintained during transit.
“After the tests, they will be distributed across the country to thousands of our healthcare workers who are risking their own lives every day to save others,” he said, adding the country must ensure the protection of frontline workers first because they fight to protect the lives of others.
“The arrival of these vaccines carries with it the promise that we can turn the tide on this disease that has caused so much devastation and hardship in our country and around the world,” he said.
South Africa has the highest number of COVID-19 infections on the continent and is the 15th hardest hit country in the world.
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