No fewer than 7,021 South African police officers have tested positive for COVID-19, Bheki Cele, South African police minister, disclosed during a press conference, on Wednesday.
He said 53 officers have died of the virus which is responsible for the death of more than 4,300 persons in the country.
News Agency of Nigeria quotes the police boss as saying that 4,949 police officers have been quarantined in Pretoria, the country’s capital, while 150 others have been hospitalised.
The minister said 3,688 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in South African jails including the 1,485 inmates and 2,203 prison warders.
He said 15 inmates and 31 prison officials are among the fatalities recorded.
“This pandemic is indiscriminate, no one is immune. It even attacks those entrusted with protecting us,” he said.
“A number of justice, crime prevention and security cluster officials have tested positive. The good news is that many of them have fully recovered and are back in the front line serving their communities.”
Cele called for cooperation among South Africans to flatten the COVID-19 curve.
He said the police would intensify patrols, roadblocks, stop and search to ensure compliance with social distancing and other lockdown regulations.
“It is the same for all of us South Africans; if we are responsible, if we do respect one another, if we work with those serving us during this pandemic, we will overcome it,” he said.
“We will break its transmission. As the president has told us, the answer is in our hands.”
A total of 298,292 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in South Africa.
South Africa is the most infected country in Africa, followed by Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana.
In Africa, over 609,000 COVID-19 cases had been recorded as of Tuesday, with more than 305,000 recoveries and 13,000 deaths.