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SA's second Covid-19 fatality is 74 years old as cases climb to 1,280

29 March 2020 - 20:53 By Matthew Savides
Police try to enforce social distancing as people queue in Gauteng.
Police try to enforce social distancing as people queue in Gauteng.
Image: Sunday Times/Alaister Russel

A 74-year-old man from Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal has been confirmed as the second person to die from Covid-19 in SA.

The health department released news of the man's death on Sunday night as it announced that the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country had climbed to 1,280.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said in a statement that the patient had been on a ventilator at a private hospital in the central KwaZulu-Natal town.

"He had travelled to the Kruger National Park with his family and came back with flu-like symptoms. He was confirmed Covid-19 positive on March 27 2020," said Mkhize.

He said the man had an "underlying skin cancer condition [melanoma], which had already [become] complicated".

"He presented with the following symptoms: respiratory distress, shortness of breath, cardiac failure, decreased saturation and his temperature was above 38 degrees."

The man's family and 14 health workers - including three specialist doctors - who had been in contact with him were in quarantine and being monitored.

Mkhize confirmed that the number of positive Covid-19 cases in the country had increased by 93 since Saturday's figures were released.

Of those, 584 were in Gauteng, 310 in the Western Cape, 167 in KwaZulu-Natal and 72 in the Free State. There were also 100 "unallocated" cases.