South Africa Holds Five Days of Mourning for Coronavirus Victims

South Africa began an official mourning period on Wednesday for those who’ve died of the coronavirus or fallen victim to gender-based violence.

The national flag will be flown at half-mast for five days to commemorate the more than 21,000 people who have died as a result of Covid-19. Sixteen days of mourning were also declared in remembrance of women killed as a result of gender-based violence.

President Cyril Ramaphosa last year declared crimes against women a national crisis and established a $355 million fund to help deal with sex offenses and other forms of violence against women over the next five years.

“These twin pandemics of Covid-19 and gender-based violence and femicide continue to engulf our nation on an unprecedented scale,” Deputy President Mabuza said in a speech in Pretoria, the capital. “We are certain that if we work together as a nation to repair the social fabric of our society, victory is guaranteed.”

South Africa has detected 754,256 coronavirus cases so far, the most in Africa, and 21,083 people who tested positive have died, latest Health Ministry statistics show. As many as 2,300 cases of gender-based violence were reported the first week of a lockdown that was imposed in March to curb the spread of the disease, according to the police.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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