The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) said 2,320 new cases of Covid-19 have been identified in South Africa in the past 24 hours.
This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases in the country to 3,671,991, representing a 7.0% increase in the positivity rate.
More than 23 million tests have been carried out in both the public and private sectors since the first case was registered in South Africa, and 33,021 tests have been carried out since Friday Covid-19 update.
New cases in South Africa
The majority of new Covid-19 cases – about 37% – were reported in Gauteng, followed by Western Cape at 20% and Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) at 15%.
The Northwest accounted for 8%, while Mpumalanga accounted for 7%, the Free State for 6%, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo for 3% each, respectively.
Only 1% of the latest influx of new cases was recorded in the Northern Cape. The 7-day moving average is 7.7%, which is 0.1% lower than Friday’s data.
backlog of fatalities
The National Department of Health reported 46 deaths, but only six deaths were recorded in the past 48 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 99,191.
The discrepancy in the data is due to a backlog of reported Covid-19 deaths; the health department conducts an ongoing audit to clear the backlog.
Earlier this week, the government announced all vaccinated individuals over the age of 18 can receive a booster dose of Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer 90 days after receiving the vaccine.
The government also changed the reduction in the time interval between the first and second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Those who have been vaccinated no longer have to wait 42 days to get their second dose of Pfizer. Instead, the waiting time was reduced to 21 days.
Meanwhile, South Africa is likely to see another spike in Covid-19 infections, according to epidemiologist Professor Salim Abdool Karim.
Speaking to Jacaranda, Karim said South Africa is currently entering a three-month ‘rest period’ and should use this time to prepare for the fifth wave.
He said it was impossible to say when the next wave will start and said the government is “working on a rough basis” that there will be a new wave every three months.
“The Omicron wave ended about two weeks ago, so that means we have about three months now, and we can predict that we’ll probably see the fifth wave around the end of April or thereabouts.”
Global Covid-19 Updates
Reporting by AFP†
Masks in the USA
The United Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday drastically revised their masking guidelines to stop the transmission of Covid-19.
Under new guidelines, most Americans are not advised to wear masks in indoor public areas, including schoolchildren.
“We are stronger today as a nation with more tools to protect ourselves and our communities from COVID-19said Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC.
Asia bucks improvement
This week, only Asia saw a worsening of its situation, with a fifth more cases.
But in all other regions of the world, the pandemic subsided.
There were 39% fewer cases in the Middle East, 3% fewer in the United States-Canada zone, a 24% decrease in both Africa and the Latin America-Caribbean zone, a fifth less in Europe and 12% less in Oceania.
Nearly six million dead
Covid-19 has killed at least 5,925,534 people since the outbreak broke out in China in December 2019, according to a report AFP tally compiled from official sources Friday.
The Covid-19 pandemic continued its strong retreat across the world this week, except in Asia, where the number of cases rose by a fifth.
The United States has recorded the most Covid-19 deaths with 944,831 followed by Brazil with 647,390 deaths and India with 513,226 deaths.
Taking into account excess mortality associated with Covid-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the true death toll could be two to three times higher.