Covid-19: SA records over 14 000 cases for 3rd day in a row, as infections near million mark

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South Africa has recorded over 14 000 daily Covid-19 cases for the third day in a row this week, edging the country closer to the one million cumulative cases mark.

On Christmas Day, the country recorded 14 796 new cases, bringing  the cumulative number to 983 359. There were 293 fatalities, which brought the death toll to 26 276, with the Eastern Cape once again recording the highest fatality figures at 115. Recoveries sat at 830 251.

In the last 10 days, the country has had 109 680 new cases, with KwaZulu-Natal on the rise.

The province has recorded the highest number of new Covid-19 cases per day, with a daily average of 3 501.

KwaZulu-Natal also now has the highest number of active cases, at 40 197.

Earlier in the day, Health Minster Zweli Mkhize lambasted the United Kingdom's travel ban on South Africa, saying there was no evidence that the new variant of the coronavirus in South Africa was more transmissible, that it caused a more severe form of Covid-19, or that it had an increased rate of mortality compared to the variant found in the UK. 

READ | Households carry high risk of coronavirus transmission, even when community infection rates are low

"We have consulted with our genomics team who have assured us that, at present, there is no evidence that the 501.V2 is more transmissible than the United Kingdom variant - as suggested by [the] British Health Secretary. There is also no evidence that the 501.V2 causes more severe disease or increased mortality than the UK variant or any variant that has been sequenced around the world," said Mkhize.

"This, as well as other factors that influence transmissibility, is the subject of further investigation involving genomic investigators, epidemiologists, public health specialists, clinicians and other key stakeholders," he added.

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