As of Wednesday evening, May 20, the confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa stands at a staggering 18 0003 cases.
Furthermore, the number of COVID-19 related deaths has risen to 339. In a statement, National Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize said the deaths include a two-day old baby.
“Sadly, we have recorded the first neonatal mortality related to COVID-19, this was a two-day-old baby that was born prematurely and therefore had lung difficulties which required ventilation support immediately after birth.”
Dr Mkhize adds the child’s mother had initially tested positive for COVID-19.
The chid subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 as well. Dr Mkhize emphasises that 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.”
Among the newly recorded deaths, Dr Mkhize claims his department is 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.”
At this time, Dr Mkhize sends a heartfelt tribute to the health care workers, who continue to serve with honour and compassion. This is despite the 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.”
Furthermore, Dr Mkhize extends his condolences to all the loved ones of the departed and thank the health care workers who cared for the deceased.
To date, a total of 505 861 tests have been conducted with the number of recoveries stands at 8950.