Delta variant pushes South Africa’s deaths to over 60,000

South Africa, the worst virus-hit country in the continent, on Monday crossed the threshold of 60,000 virus deaths, health officials announced, a day after a stricter lockdown was enforced.

At least 512 new hospital admissions were reported early Tuesday, pushing the total number of hospitalised people to 11,801.

The health authority said 12,222 new cases had been recorded over the last 24 hours, 28.3 percent of those tested.

Gauteng province, home to the administrative capital Pretoria and financial hub Johannesburg, is the outbreak’s current epicentre, accounting for around 69 percent of the latest daily increase.

Government and scientists at the weekend announced that the highly contagious Delta variant was driving the surge in South African infections, which is testing the capacity of hospitals.

Novel coronavirus has infected more than 182 million people and killed over 3.9 million worldwide.