South Africa has recorded 849 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and 38 new fatalities. This was announced by the Department of Health in a statement on Monday. The department had recorded 1 101 on Sunday. The latest figures bring the cumulative number of cases in the country to 1 576 320.

The Western Cape province has recorded the highest number of infections in the last reporting period at 17, followed by the Free State, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape at 5 new infections apiece.  

There are currently 20 254 active cases in the country after 1 501 880 recoveries which translates into recovery rate at 95%. 

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Meanwhile, Chief Economist at Econometrix, Laura Campbell says the pace at which the government rolls out the COVID-19 vaccine will determine the rate at which the country’s tourism industry will recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.   

She was speaking ahead of the release of the 2020 tourism statistics by Stats SA later this week.  

In February this year, 385 832 travellers passed through South Africa’s ports of entry/exit. They included 131 693 South African residents and 254 139 foreign travellers 

Campbell says a contraction in tourist arrivals can be expected.

“So, we’re expecting that there will have been a significant year on year contraction in foreign tourist arrivals once again. The announcement by South Africa that the second wave virus infecting the country around December with a different variant from that affecting the rest of the world drove many governments around the world to ban travel to and from South Africa. These restrictions remain in place today and therefore, will continue to depress the number of visitors coming to South Africa’s shores.