South Africa’s government on Friday announced the country’s first two deaths from the Covid-19 novel coronavirus as the number of infections increased to over 1,000 people.

“This morning, we wake South Africans up with sad news that we now have our first deaths resulting from COVID-19. These two deaths occurred in the Western Cape,” health minister Zweli Mkhize said.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize. File photo: Nqobile Mbonambi/African News Agency (ANA)

“One [occurred] at a private hospital and the other at a public hospital. We will give more details later on, when we announce the latest confirmed Covid-19 cases, which have increased from yesterday’s number and have tipped the 1000 mark.”