Spain's Covid-19 surge pushes SA into ninth position on global table
A surge in Covid-19 cases means Spain has pushed SA down to ninth in the table of nations with the most confirmed infections.
According to Saturday's tally on Worldometers, Spain has had 659,334 cases and 30,495 deaths, compared to SA's 657,627 cases and 15,857 deaths.
More than 122,000 new Covid-19 cases have been reported in Spain in the last two weeks, compared with 22,500 in SA.
Spain's population of 47 million is 17% lower than SA's 59.3 million.
As SA moves its lockdown to alert level one, Spain said a partial lockdown of 37 areas around Madrid would be imposed from Monday. They will affect areas where there are more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 people.
The lockdowns mean about 850,000 people will be allowed to enter and exit only on work, educational, legal or medical grounds, The Guardian reported. Gatherings will be limited to six people and parks will be closed.
Saturday is the 200th day since SA's first confirmed Covid-19 case on March 5. Spain's first case was on January 31, and community transmission had begun by mid-February.
Argentina, the country 10th in the table of countries with most Covid-19 cases, trails SA by 44,000 cases but its numbers are increasing by around 12,000 a day and it has had 174,500 new infections in the past two weeks.
SA's cases have increased by an average of 1,611 over the last 14 days. As of Friday, there were 54,926 active cases, down from a high of 173,590 on July 20.
Active cases have increased for each of the last three days, the first time this has happened in two months. But they have fallen by an average of 547 cases a day over the last two weeks.
With alert level 1 under way, South Africa has endured trials and tribulations since the beginning of the national lockdown. TimesLIVE sat down with vaccinology and infectious disease expert Prof Shabir Madhi from Wits University, who shed some light on what could be next for the country, and a few lessons learnt along the way. He gives an update on the vaccine trial and considers the possibilities of a second wave of infection, warning that the country is not yet out of the woods.