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Infectious Diseases

28 September 2020

How Covid-19 took hold in South Africa

Life is different now. We stay two metres apart from each other, walk with masks and shop with hand sanitiser. Where did it all begin?

  • On March 5, a 38-year-old man in Hilton, a small town near Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, who'd recently returned from a holiday in Italy, became South Africa’s first confirmed Covid-19 case
  • On March 13, South Africa had 24 confirmed Covid-19 cases. Two days later, the president declared a national state of disaster
  • We take you through the journey with interactive maps, visualisations and a compelling narrative

On March 5, life in South Africa as we know it, drastically changed. A virus brought into the country had the government lock down the country and shut down the economy. Six months later, the country has almost 670 000 confirmed cases, more than 16 000 people have died and the economy is in dire straits.

In late September, the country finally started to open up again, but life is different. We stay two metres apart from each other, walk with masks and shop with hand sanitiser.  

Bhekisisa has partnered with Media Hack to track down how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, has travelled through South Africa.

We take you on this journey with maps, a narrative and visualisations. We also provide you with information about the countries from where South Africa’s importations of the virus came.   

You can scroll up and down to different days to track what’s happened when. As you scroll, you’ll see an interactive graph on your left that correlates with the date where you’re at to show  you how many confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases there were in each province at the time.  

This is our attempt at documenting the history of the Covid-19 epidemic - or at least part of it.

Click here for the full story.

This story was produced by the Bhekisisa Centre for Journalism in partnership with Media Hack.

Image credit: James Oatway