The youngest victim of COVID-19 in South Africa is a two-day-old baby, who died after being born prematurely to a coronavirus positive mother. The case becomes the country’s first neonatal coronavirus death since the pandemic hit the Rainbow Nation.
Explaining the circumstances leading to the baby’s death, health minister Zweli Mkhize said the premature baby’s condition was critical including lung problems and required ventilation immediately after birth.
“Sadly we have recorded the first neonatal mortality related to COVID-19. This was a two-day-old baby that was born prematurely and therefore had lung difficulties, which required ventilation support immediately after birth,” the BBC quoted Mkhize at a press briefing.
“The mother had tested positive for Covid-19 and the child subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 as well. It is important to appreciate the complexities of the underlying condition of prematurity,” Mkhize said.
He added: “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.”
South Africa’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 339. It has a total of 18,003 confirmed cases as at Wednesday, May 20, 2020 – making it the country with the highest coronavirus infections in Africa – out of which 8,950 have recovered.