Renowned KZN scientist Prof. Gita Ramjee dies of COVID-19 complications

Renowned KZN scientist Prof. Gita Ramjee dies of COVID-19 complications

South Africa's death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has increased to five, with the number of confirmed infections at 1 353 cases. 

Professor Gita Ramjee
Facebook: Gita Ramjee

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhezi says that's after tests on more than 39 000 people. 

Another KwaZulu-Natal family is in mourning, as the province reported it's second death. 

Messages of condolences and tributes have been pouring in for Durban resident - Professor Gita Ramjee. 

Ramjee died at an Umhlanga hospital on Tuesday. 

She was a world-renowned HIV prevention and treatment scientist. 

"The world has lost a bold and compassionate leader in response to HIV Professor Gita Ramjee firmly believed in health as a fundamental human right," says the Aurum Institute's spokesperson, Kanya Ndaki. 

READ: Five residents at Durban old age home tests positive for coronavirus

HIV prevention was her main focus as she headed up portfolios at the Aurum Institute and SA Medical Research Council. 

The Council said in a statement last night that Ramjee died of COVID-19 related complications after returning home from UK. 

Ndaki says Ramjee was a critical player in the field of HIV prevention clinical trials. 

"Her ground-breaking research in HIV prevention contributed to the global response to HIV/Aids. Out thoughts during this difficult time are with her family and the many people her life and work touched."

"The Aurum Institute and the global HIV and research community will mourn Professor Gita Ramjee's passing and celebrate the huge contribution to the response to HIV that she made in her life." 

Meanwhile, the Health Department said it needed more time to confirm the details surrounding Ramjee's death.

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