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The number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Free State has risen to 72 after four new cases were recorded from the last count on Saturday.

South Africa also recorded a second death related the coronavirus after a 74-year-old man from Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal succumbed to the disease.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the man had an underlying health condition which had deteriorated before he died.

“It is with sadness that we announce the second death of a patient who had tested positive for COVID-19,” Mkhize said in a statement released Sunday night.

“The 74-year-old male had been in ICU (intensive care unit) and on ventilation in a private hospital in Ladysmith. He had travelled to Kruger National Park with his family and came back with flu-like symptoms. He was confirmed to be COVID-19-positive on the 27th March 2020,” he explained.

Mkhize said the man had melanoma, a skin cancer, which had worsened.

When he was taken to hospital, the man had respiratory distress, shortness of breath, cardiac failure, decreased saturation and his temperature was above 38 degrees.

“The deceased’s family, 14 health workers, including three specialist doctors, who were in contact with him are now in quarantine and being monitored,” said the minister.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country is now 1 280.

Gauteng has 584 cases followed by the Western Cape with 310 and KwaZulu-Natal 167.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has adjusted the operating times for public transporters in order to accommodate grant beneficiaries who will paid out this week.

He said from Monday, March 30, until Friday, April 3, buses and taxis will operate from 5am-8pm in order to cater for their transport needs.

Mbalula emphasised that social distancing should be observed at all times by those using public transport.

All grant recipients are required to carry their identity documents and South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) cards when traveling on public transport to assist law-enforcement efforts.

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