COVID-19 infection rates across South Africa are expected to reach frightening heights over the next few weeks. This was revealed during a briefing by the National Department of Health on Friday morning.

Scientists say the third wave infection rate has surpassed those of the first and second waves.

Deputy Director General at the National Department of Health, Dr Anban Pillay, says Gauteng accounts for more than two-thirds of positive cases.

More than 16 000 positive cases and 148 deaths have been recorded in the last 24-hours.

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Dr Pillay says South Africans need to assist government by staying indoors as far as possible.

“Largely from the inland provinces, it’s spreading across the country. In the Gauteng province, it’s clear that many districts are in the red zone. Almost the whole province has high levels of infection. The picture is not very good in that across all 9 provinces, we can expect quite large increases, especially the Western Cape, North West. This forecast places pressure on the hospital beds across the country, Gauteng is in the red zone. Nationally the numbers have increased on a week-on-week basis.”

Ministers Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane & Senzo Mchunu brief media on COVID-19 & vaccination rollout plan:

New research on vaccinations 

New research from the New England Journal of Medicine has shown a significant reduction in COVID-19 transmission from people that have been vaccinated. The findings of this research were presented by the Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 vaccines, Professor Barry Schoub, at the online briefing.

In the coming weeks, South Africa will roll out vaccinations to those 50-years and older as well as essential workers from different sectors.

Professor Schoub says vaccination is key to containing the pandemic..

“What they found in this study is that the likelihood of transmission from a vaccinated person that has been infected to the contacts inside the house was reduced by about 40 to 60 percent. If you look at what vaccines aim to achieve, personal protection, we also want to look at the ongoing transmission. People that are vaccinated who may get infected, do they transmit the virus. Clearly, there is some transmission, but I think what this study does, it amplifies a lot of previous studies which have shown that those that are vaccinated and get infected, the amount of virus that they excrete is quite dramatically reduced.”