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Africa’s Richest Square Mile is the Epicentre of COVID-19 Infections

The country’s Defence minister says upmarket suburban areas Sandton and Bedfordview have been identified as the epicentre of the coronavirus in Gauteng. South Africans struggled to adapt to new confinement rules on Friday, with many city streets no less crowded than normal as a strict lockdown regime took effect and the country recorded its first two coronavirus deaths and the number of cases rose above the 1000 mark. Africa’s most industrialised nation is an epicentre of the outbreak on a continent where more than 3,200 people have been infected overall, of whom 84 have died. Already struggling, South Africa’s economy appears particularly vulnerable to its effects. Its rand lost 1.3% against the dollar following the news of the rise in cases and first deaths. Even before the coronavirus, South Africa was mired in recession caused mostly by power cuts at its dysfunctional state-run utility, Eskom. The central bank launched a bond-buying scheme this week to try to revive a moribund credit market, while President Ramaphosa announced measures aimed at helping small businesses. But unemployment is at a decade high of some 30 percent, and ailing state companies have already bled billions of rand from the treasury.