Cases of the Covid-19 respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus have surged in South Africa, with the country reporting its largest daily increase yet to reach a total of 116 cases.
On the African continent, that is second only to Egypt, which has reported 196 cases.
South Africa has 31 new confirmed cases, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said on Wednesday.
A day earlier, it had reported a then-record of 23 new cases, including four children aged 5 and under.
The country’s initial Covid-19 cases involved people who had travelled abroad, but it is now also seeing local transmission of the disease.
South Africa last week evacuated 122 of its nationals from the Chinese region of Wuhan, but they have all tested negative, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said late Tuesday.
Africa had for weeks been spared from the coronavirus, but the disease is now spreading across the continent, 29 of its 54 countries had reported cases by Tuesday morning, according to the World Health Organisation.
Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda and Tanzania all reported additional cases late on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Niger, meanwhile, announced it will stop international flights and close all land borders for at least two weeks from Thursday.
Bars, nightclubs, cinemas and places of entertainment will cease operations from Wednesday, while schools and universities will be closed from Friday, the president said on national television.
Niger’s government also banned all gatherings of more than 50 people and introduced compulsory hygiene measures in markets, shops and restaurants. (dpa/NAN)