South Africa now has over 19 000 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus and 30 more deaths, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Thursday afternoon.
Mkhize said there were 1134 new infections, taking the total cases to 19 137, while there were also 30 more deaths, taking the death toll to 369.
It was the country’s second biggest daily jump, after 1160 new infections were recorded on Sunday, 17 May.
All 30 new deaths were from the Eastern Cape, five, and the Western Cape, 25.
Announcing the baby’s death on Wednesday night, Mkhize said: “Sadly we have recorded the first neonatal mortality related to Covid-19.”
“The baby was two days old and was born prematurely. The baby had lung difficulties which required ventilation support immediately after birth.
“The mother had tested positive for Covid-19 and the child subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 as well.”
He said it was 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,” he said.
Meanwhile, a healthcare worker in the Western Cape has also died due to the Coronavirus.
Mkhize said: “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.
“I want to send a special tribute to the healthcare workers who continue to serve with honour and compassion, despite the real risks they face in the front line. My heart goes out to the family, colleagues and loved ones of this compatriot.”
Mkhize said 525 000 people had now been tested for the virus, with the last 18 500 tests conducted over the last 24 hours.
In the Western Cape, 11 810 infections had been recorded while 235 people have died from Covid-19.
Globally, over 5.1 million people have tested positive for Covid-19, while over 330 000 have lost their lives and just under 2 million have recovered from the virus.