Senior Researcher at the CSIR, Dr Ridwaan Suliman says the number of COVID-19 cases in the country has shown a significant increase in the past week. 

Dr Suliman’s weekly COVID-19 update:

1 326 new cases have been recorded in the last 24hour report cycle bringing the cumulative cases in the country to 1 566 769 

To date, 53 736 have succumbed to the virus after another 25 deaths were reportedwith the Free State recording most of those fatalities with 8.  

“Eastern Cape 6; Gauteng 4; KwaZulu-Natal 1; Limpopo 0; Mpumalanga 3; North West 0; Northern Cape 0 and Western Cape 3,” announced the Department of Health. 

Latest SA COVID-19 stats:

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Scientists have been warning of a third wave from next month.  

Suliman says there are signs of an increase in some provinces.

Unfortunately, we’re starting to see an increase in all of the indicators again. Nationally, the number of daily cases, on average, is over 1160 new cases per day. That’s an increase of 35% week on week. I think due to the timing of the increase, I refer to this as the Easter wave. It’s driven by increases in the number of small provinces. What we are seeing now is an indication of events from two weeks ago. Of concern are three particular provinces; Northern Cape has been on a sustained and has shown cluster outbreaks and spikes over the last few weeks. Currently, the 7-day average has increased by over hundred percent compared to a week ago.” 

KwaZulu-Natal currently has 5 544 active cases, followed by the Western Cape with 4 973; Northern Cape 3 305; Gauteng 2 882; North West 2 485; and Free State 2 138. 

Only three provinces, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape have cases less than 1000 at 996, 302, and 265, respectively. 

Meanwhile, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) says it expects government to lift the pause on the rollout of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the country later this week.   

SAHPRA has recommended that the suspension be lifted provided certain conditions are met. It says they include strengthening the screening and monitoring of participants who are at high risk of blood clotting disorders.   

SAHPRA says measures are to be implemented to ensure the safe management of any participants who develop vaccine-induced blood clots.   

The regulator says it recently reviewed data from the Sisonke Research Study under which healthcare workers are immunised and found no major safety concerns.   

Chairperson of SAHPRA Professor Helen Rees says, “The research team is putting together what we call the Informed Consent Sheet that people will sign and it has a lot of information, including giving people guidance of these suggestive symptoms. But in addition to that, SAHPRA is saying that this is ok, the ethics committee that also approves these different sites around the country, also has to say, ‘yes, it’s fine to get going.’ Everyone recognises that it’s very, very urgent that we get going, not only because we need to protect healthcare workers, but we also want to get public confidence.”