COVID-19 cases slow in South African hotspot provinces, minister says

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Three South African provinces considered coronavirus hotspots have seen new infections slow in recent weeks, though it is too early to say whether the country’s peak has passed, the health minister said on Wednesday.

South Africa has the world’s fifth highest number of infections, with cases passing 500,000 over the weekend, despite a strict lockdown since late March.

On Wednesday the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it was sending a “surge team” of 43 experts to the country to help the Health Ministry with “surveillance and streamlining of epidemiological systems and WHO global COVID-19 response guidelines”.

Financial hub Gauteng, tourist centre Western Cape and the Eastern Cape have seen steep rises for months, with total cases at roughly 183,000, 97,000 and 80,000 respectively.

“The number of new infections is increasing at a lower rate than what had been happening in the whole of June and up to the middle of July. That clearly indicates to us that there is a declining trend,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told a news conference, referring to Gauteng.

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