Article by: Emma Clayfield
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed on Wednesday evening that a two-day-old baby has become South Africa’s first neonatal Covid-19 fatality.
Zweli Mkhize said that the infant was part of 27 new Covid-19 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours. The country’s death toll now stands at 339, and the number of confirmed cases has climbed to 18,003 with over 8000 recorded recoveries.
The two-day-old child is believed to have contracted the virus from the mother.
The infant was also born prematurely and reportedly needed a ventilator after birth, as a result of having difficulties with the lungs.
“It is important to appreciate the complexities of the underlying condition of prematurity,” Mkhize said.
“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.”
Mkhize said a health care worker in the Western Cape had succumbed to COVID-19.
“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,” the minister said.
“I want to send a special tribute to the health care workers who continue to serve with honour and compassion, despite the real risks they face in the frontline. My heart goes out to the family, colleagues and loved ones of this compatriot: we salute her for the contribution she has made to the fight against COVID-19.”
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