In readiness for a possible mass surge of deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic, South Africa’s most populated province, which includes the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, is preparing some 1.5 million gravesites for potential mass burials.

Dr. Bandile Masuku, the health representative on the Gauteng province executive council who disclosed this, said the graves are being prepared, but he hopes they are not needed.

Coronavirus cases and deaths are on the rise in South Africa, and the country has now reported more coronavirus cases than any other on the African continent, which had largely been spared the severe impact coronavirus has had on the rest of the world so far.

But Masuku said in an interview with the South African Broadcasting Company that a major coronavirus surge is coming.

He expects the current spike will continue to worsen until mid-August, but if additional restrictions are put in place, the severity of the spike could be lessened with its peak pushed back until September.

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