South Africa reports its first coronavirus deaths

South Africa has reported its first deaths from Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus.

Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize announced on Friday that two deaths had occurred in the Western Cape province – one at a private hospital and the other at a public hospital.

He also announced that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had jumped to more than 1,000, but said the details will be given in a subsequent media briefing.

The news comes as South Africa started a 21-day national lockdown on Thursday night to try and slow down the spread of the virus.