South Africa now at 471,000 coronavirus cases

Funeral workers wearing personal protective equipment are seen after a burial amid a nationwide coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, at the Olifantsvlei cemetery, south-west of Joburg, South Africa July 28, 2020. (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)

's confirmed cases are now above 471,000 as the country with the world's fifth-largest confirmed caseload makes up well over half the recorded infections on the African continent.

Africa's 54 countries have a total of more than 891,000 cases as local transmission of the virus is underway in many countries. Severe testing shortages mean the real number of cases is likely much higher. South Africa is also seeing far more "excess deaths" than in recent years.

A new report by the South African Medical Research Council shows more than 22,000 excess deaths from natural causes between May 6 and July 21. Those could be unrecorded COVID-19 deaths or deaths from other diseases as some South Africans, scared by the pandemic, hesitate to seek care. Strained health resources are also being redirected to fighting COVID-19.

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