Covid-19 cases surge to 18,003 with 27 more deaths

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: Jacques Nelles

SA has recorded the first neonatal mortality related to Covid-19 – this was a two-day-old baby that was born prematurely, the health minister said.

As of Wednesday, 20 May 2020, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa is 18,003.

“Regrettably we report a further 27 Covid-19 related deaths – this brings the total national deaths to 339,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement.

“Sadly we have recorded the first neonatal mortality related to COVID-19 – this was a 2 day old baby that was born prematurely and therefore had lung difficulties which required ventilation support immediately after birth. The mother had tested positive for COVID-19 and the child subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 as well.

“It is important to appreciate the complexities of the underlying condition of prematurity. We extend a special word of comfort to the mother of this child and salute the neonatologists, nurses and all allied and technical personnel who had the difficult task of caring for the neonate to the end.

“We are also devastated to have registered the death of a health care worker in the Western Cape. When COVID-19 claims the lives of the very people who are the bedrock of the national response, we feel the loss in so many ways.

“I want to send a special tribute to the health care workers who continue to serve with honour and compassion, despite the real risks they face in the frontline.

“My heart goes out to the family, colleagues and loved ones of this compatriot: we salute her for the contribution she has made to the fight against COVID-19.

“We wish to express our condolences to all the loved ones of the departed and thank the health care workers who cared for the deceased,” Mkhize said.

The total number of recoveries to date is 8,950.

A total of 505,861 tests have been conducted with 18,252 done in the last 24-hour cycle.

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