JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The New Development Bank of the BRICS group of nations has approved a second $1 billion loan to South Africa's government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank said on Thursday.

South Africa's public finances were in bad shape before COVID-19 struck and have deteriorated since, as it has recorded the most coronavirus cases on the continent and imposed a strict lockdown that shuttered much of its economy.

"The loan will support the Government of South Africa in its efforts to contain the economic fallout of the pandemic and start economic recovery," the bank said in a statement.

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Last year, the NDB provided Africa's most industrialised economy with a $1 billion loan to cushion the socio-economic impact of the pandemic.

South Africa's 2021 budget presented in February forecast a record deficit of 14% of gross domestic product in the fiscal year that ended in March.

BRICS member states Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa set up the NDB to mobilise funds for infrastructure and development projects in their own countries and other developing nations.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Alison Williams)