A total of 511 health workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in South Africa, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said Wednesday.

Mkhize said 26 doctors have been hospitalized and two health workers, a doctor and a nurse have died.

In a series of tweets, he said “149 health workers have recovered.”

Mkhize also paid tribute to health workers whom he said have done a great job in fighting COVID-19.

“We bow our heads and salute you. We appreciate all the work you are doing. Both public and private health workers are one,” he said.

Mkhize visited the mining town of Rustenburg in the northwest province and encouraged mining companies to work with the provincial government to ensure all mineworkers are screened.

“It is more helpful to be proactive. We can save staff and the whole mine if we screen miners,’’ he said.

South Africa has been under lockdown since March 27 and has started to gradually ease restrictions by allowing some industries to reopen.

Africa’s most industrialized economy has recorded one of the largest COVID-19 infections on the continent with 7,572 cases and 148 deaths.

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