South Africa recorded just more than 16 000 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, 21 July, according to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD). The new cases detected over the last 24-hour period represent a test positivity rate of 27.5%.
The NICD said the 16 240 new COVID-19 cases identified on Wednesday brings the total number of active cases in the country to 160 462. Unfortunately, 516 more people succumbed to the disease, bringing South Africa’s death toll since the onset of the pandemic to 68 192.
The testing results on Wednesday are markedly different from the previous day. On Tuesday, the NICD reported 8 929 new COVID-19 cases and conducted just 40 173 tests (this increased to 59 068 on Wednesday) at a positivity rate of 22.2%.
Dr Michelle Groome, the Centre Head for the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response at the NICD, acknowledged the dip and said testing rates have decreased in the past two weeks.
“…while this may be reflective of a decreased need for testing due to decreased infections, access to testing has been limited in certain areas due to the social unrest,” said Groome.
“Thus, trends in the coming week will be important in confirming whether the peak of the third wave has indeed been reached or not.”
Hospital admissions have remained consistent on Tuesday 808 people were admitted for COVID-19 treatment while 831 were admitted within the last 24 hours, according to the NICD on Tuesday. There are currently 17 286 patients admitted to hospitals for the disease across the country.
Most of the new COVID-19 cases identified on Wednesday were in Gauteng (32%) followed by the Western Cape (21%) and KwaZulu-Natal (11%). Limpopo and the North West each accounted for 9% while the other provinces – Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, Free State and Northern Cape – accounted for the remaining 18 percent.
The list below shows the new COVID-19 cases identified by province:
Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has dismissed claims that prisoners are receiving preferential treatment in the Covid-19 vaccination rollout programme.
The minister told Jacaranda FM: “With regards to those who are criticising us and claiming we are giving preference to inmates above society, that criticism is unfounded. Older inmates were vaccinated when the population 60 years and above received their jabs.
“When it was 50 years and above, they participated with everyone in society, so there was no preference. The reality is we are going to go further than that with the health department so we are able to reach herd immunity.”
Where’s your health pass? Visitors heading to museums, cinemas or swimming pools in France were denied entry from Wednesday if they cannot show the document that proves they have been vaccinated against Covid -19 or have had a recent negative test.
The health pass, previously only required for large-scale festivals or to go clubbing, will also be needed from the start of August to enter restaurants and bars and for long-distance train and plane journeys, as authorities try to slow the spread of the virus and encourage people to get vaccinated.
The introduction of the health pass – a QR code on your smartphone or on a piece of paper – has proved hugely contentious in France, triggering protests nationwide.
Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday forecast just $2.5 billion in 2021 sales of its Covid-19 vaccine, which has fallen way behind rival shots from Pfizer and Moderna as the company deals with vaccine production issues and safety concerns.