As the country’s coronavirus cases continue to rise, some 40 South African troops have been infected with the virus, the South African National Defence Force announced on Friday.The soldiers were part of a battalion deployed from Cape Town in the Western Cape Province – the country’s Covid-19 epicentre — to the Northern Province of Limpopo to patrol the porous Zimbabwe border, the SANDF said.
The army said it was probing to find out how the soldiers got contaminated, taking into consideration that they were quarantined before leaving Cape Town and on arrival at their duty station in Limpopo Province.
The infected soldiers would remain quarantined until they recover from the disease, the SANDF said.
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended the deployment of 20,000 troops assignment to assist the country’s police officers to reinforce the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, his office said on Friday.
The troops, deployed since the lockdown measures in late March, would remain in service until the end of September 2020 – a move that is expected to cost the government some $90 million, the presidency said.
Some 2,844 South Africans have died from the disease since its outbreak in the country in the first week of March, according to the health ministry in Pretoria.