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Children in South Africa become orphans due to coronavirus pandemic

The pandemic has left several South African children without their primary caretakers.   -  
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Jerome Delay/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

South Africa

South Africa's coastal city Port Elizabeth is at the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic and has seen thousands of children become orphans after losing their parents to coronavirus.

Many locals have stepped up to assume responsibility for the children in their extended families left without their primary caretakers — such as local church leader Khaya Tyatya who says nobody expected this painful situation.

The community has rallied together to organise food drives and provide other necessities for the children.

Many grieve the deceased and try to heal while doing the best for the children but it has led to some questioning their religious faith.

"What is it that I have done to deserve this? But there are things, there are questions that cannot be answered in this side of the world, there will be answered," said children's uncle and church leader Khaya Tyatya.

"Hence I always say to when I preach, I want to go to heaven and ask Jesus, personally one-on-one, why was this allowed to happen to us?"

Brutal second wave

The unprecedented global health crisis has hit South Africa the hardest on the continent — with a cumulative total of over 1.5 million confirmed cases and almost 50,000 deaths.

In a positive turn of events, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday that South Africa will lower its coronavirus alert level due to a dip in new daily infections.

As part of the country's ongoing vaccination campaign, 11 million vaccines from Johnson & Johnson — which is expected to provide 57-85% efficacy against mild to severe disease caused by the more contagious coronavirus strain, have been secured.

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