The number of coronavirus deaths in South Africa has now surpassed the 30 000 mark.
In a statement on Monday, the Department of Health reported a further 434 COVID-19 related deaths.
“Eastern Cape 133, Free State 2, Gauteng 36, Kwa-Zulu Natal 71, Limpopo 7, North West 25, Northern Cape 3 and Western Cape 157. This means we have breached the 30 000 mark for the cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths identified, at 30 011.”
South Africa has recorded 12 601 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total of infections to 1 113 349. This is a 33.7% positivity rate.
Gauteng is leading with 301 212 cases, which is 27.% of the total number of cases. Other provinces that are seeing an increased number of cases include the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Eastern Cape.
The recovery rate has slightly dipped from the previous 82.1% and now stands at 81.9%.
A total of 911 573 South Africans have recovered from the virus.
Below are the latest stats:
Vaccine rollout debate
The continued surge in COVID-19 cases comes amid concerns over government’s vaccine rollout plan.
On Sunday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that they are expediting the delivery of a vaccine and are pushing for a rollout in February.
He said a minimum of 67% of SA’s population will be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
Frontline workers and the most vulnerable are to receive the vaccine first:
However, Professor of Vaccinology at Wits University, Shabir Mahdi, says the immunisation plan is unrealistic.
“The numbers simply don’t add up. If we want to vaccinate 50 million people by the end of the year, what that would translate to roughly each day from the first of April to 31st of December in the first month, we would need to vaccinate about 150 000 people per day and from the second month onwards we would need to vaccinate 300 000 people per day to be able to vaccinate 67% of the population. It is further compounded by the fact that the vaccines are not actually authorised for use in children under the age of 16 but the bigger problem is that there isn’t actually any vaccine that is going to come our way 80 million doses that’s going to come our way at this late stage of the game. “
The Progressive Health Forum of South Africa has on the other hand slammed the government’s plan to procure vaccines in about a month’s time. Progressive Health Forum of South Africa convener, Dr. Aslam Dasoo, says the country should have started rolling out the vaccine earlier.
“The Minister said three important things that South Africans must take note of. First, he confirmed and affirmed the government’s position that vaccination is essential, and the only thing that will get us beyond the pandemic. Secondly is that they have started bilateral negotiations with manufacturers, it is important because we are not going to get a vaccine out of COVAX completely. The fact that we are only starting now is a huge concern with other countries having started since six, eight months ago, as we know we could. So, to only, today as day zero, start the negotiations is a real worry and it blows away any chance of us reaching early immunity.”
Dr Dasoo says other countries are way ahead vaccine rollout:
The South African Council of Churches has, however, welcomed the news of the rollout plan, urging the government to speed up the process.
“However, we believe that the sustainable solution in the long term is adequate levels of population immunity that a vaccine can make possible to minimise infections. While we understand that the Vaccine Rollout Strategy represents months of intense work from a research and development perspective, we appeal to government to pull out all the stops to ensure urgent rollout of the vaccine, which is a public good. It is cause for significant concern to think that we must continue to watch our people dying as we wait for the first confirmed COVAX vaccines to arrive in the county in the second quarter of the year.”