Call for continued vigilance despite stable COVID-19 positivity rate

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Senior researcher at the CSIR, Dr Ridhwaan Suliman, says although the coronavirus test positivity rate across the country is fairly stable, the possible impact of gatherings over the Easter period will only been seen in the weeks to come.

According to Suliman, the current seven-day trend of new coronavirus infections registered in South Africa is the lowest it has been since May 2020. The recovery rate stands at 95% and the number of active cases has dropped to below 22 000.

A total of 463 new COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the country in the last reporting period with 33 additional COVID19-related fatalities. Most of the new deaths are from the North West, which has recorded 18 fatalities.

“Today, 33 more COVID-19 related deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 0, Free State two, Gauteng two, KwaZulu-Natal ten, Limpopo 0, Mpumalanga 0, North West 18, Northern Cape 0 and Western Cape one; which brings the total to 52 987 deaths. We convey our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the health care workers who treated the deceased,” says Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, in a statement.



Suliman says South Africans must continue adhering to health and safety regulations, especially as the country expects a third wave of infections during the winter months.

“There’s no evidence or clear sign of a third wave; we still need to remain vigilant. If we look at the test positivity rate nationally, it is still fairly stable. We currently averaging just under 4% of positive tests and that’s a 12% decrease compared to a week ago. Northern Cape is still slightly above 10%. In terms of the hospitalisation trend across the country, most provinces are showing a decline except for two provinces; Free State has shown an increase of 19% in the last week and the Northern Cape has also shown a slight increase of 16% compared to a week ago,” he says.

Dr Suliman says while the positivity rate in South Africa is looking good, the country has to wait to see the impact of the Easter holidays.

“It’s looking quite good this past week, the number of new confirmed across the country is just over 1 000 on average per day and that’s a decline of 8% compared to a week ago. The seven-day average of just over 1 000 new cases is in fact the lowest it’s been since late May 2020. With the recent easing of restrictions and the current holiday period, we will just have to wait and see if it will have any effect on the infection rates. If we look at the curves of all the provinces, all of them have shown slight spikes in the last couple of weeks. None of them are still on a sustained decline,” he explains.

Discussing South Africa’s COVID-19 status with Dr Ridhwaan Suliman: