Covid-19: SA records lowest number of daily infections since December

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  • In the past seven days, the daily average of new infections was around 5 500, compared to just over 10 000 infections in the previous seven days.
  • Hospital admissions are also down. 
  • On Monday, the country received the first one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

South Africa has recorded the lowest number of Covid-19 daily infections since the beginning of December last year.

This was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his televised address to the nation on Monday night.

Ramaphosa announced the country would remain on an adjusted Level 3 with the sale of alcohol, among other things, being permitted. 

"In fact, the average rate of new infections has been steadily coming down over the last three weeks, indicating that we have now passed the peak of the second wave. In the past seven days, the daily average of new infections was around 5 500, compared to just over 10 000 infections in the previous seven days," he said.

The number of hospitalisations has also decreased. 

"At the peak of the second wave, we recorded over 2 300 hospital admissions in a day. This had fallen to 295 hospital admissions by the 29th of January. While all the indicators are heading in the right direction, we are still experiencing relatively high rates of transmission," Ramaphosa added. 

The Department of Health is yet to release Monday's full statistics. 

Earlier in the day Ramaphosa, Deputy President David Mabuza and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize welcomed a consignment of the country's first one million Covid-19 vaccines from the Serum Institute of India which landed at OR Tambo International Airport on an Emirates flight.

More vaccines are expected in the country later this month and in the second quarter of the year. 

Ramaphosa had this to say about further vaccines still to come:
  • In addition to the 1 million Covishield doses that we received today; another 500,000 doses from the Serum Institute of India is to arrive later in February.
  • We have secured 12 million doses in total from the global COVAX facility, which has indicated that it will release approximately 2 million doses by March.
  • We have secured 9 million vaccine doses from Johnson & Johnson, commencing with delivery in the second quarter. Johnson & Johnson has contracted Aspen, one of our pharmaceutical companies, to manufacture these vaccines in South Africa.
  • In addition, Pfizer has committed 20 million vaccine doses commencing with deliveries in the second quarter.

In his address, Ramaphosa reiterated vaccinations would be on a voluntary basis. 

"Nobody will be forced to take this vaccine. Nobody will be forbidden from travelling, from enrolling at school, or from taking part in any public activity if they have not been vaccinated. Nobody will be given this vaccine against their will, nor will the vaccine be administered in secret. Any rumours to this effect are both false and dangerous," he said.

Ramaphosa added contingencies for undocumented people living in South Africa would be made.

"We aim to make the vaccine available to all adults living in South Africa, regardless of their citizenship or residence status.

"We will be putting in place measures to deal with the challenge of undocumented migrants so that, as with all other people, we can properly record and track their vaccination history," he said.

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