South Africa reported 56 more coronavirus-related deaths late Thursday, bringing the total number of fatalities to 848. 

“As of today, the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa is 40,792 with 3,267 new identified infections,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement.

Mkhize said 54 new deaths were recorded in Western Cape Province, South Africa’s tourism hub, and one death each in KwaZulu-Natal and Free State provinces.

“The recoveries to date are 21,311. This translates to a recovery rate of 52.24%,” he said.

South Africa, which has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 infections on the continent, has so far conducted 820,675 tests for the virus.

The country, which imposed some of the strictest COVID-19 lockdown regulations for the past 10 weeks, eased the lockdown this week, allowing millions to return to work.

Prior to the easing of the lockdown, only essential workers such as health professionals, those in food production, telecommunications, security and retail were allowed to go to work while the rest remained at home to curb the spread of COVID-19.

After originating in Wuhan, China last December, COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has spread to 188 countries and regions across the world. Europe and the US are currently the worst-hit regions.

The pandemic has killed more than 388,000 people worldwide, with total infections exceeding 6.59 million, while over 2.85 million people have recovered from the disease, according to figures compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

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