South Africa has recorded 1 187 new coronavirus cases in the past 24-hours, bringing the total number of cases to 1 586 148.

There have been a further 59 COVID-19-related deaths in the country, bringing the national death toll to 54 511.

In a statement, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says, “Today, 59 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 7, Free State 3, Gauteng 21, KwaZulu-Natal 4, Limpopo 20, Mpumalanga 0, North West 0, Northern Cape 1 and Western Cape 3 which brings the total to 54 511 deaths.”

Recoveries now stand at 1 509 656, representing a recovery rate of 95%.

The number of vaccines that have been administered to healthcare workers now stands at 339 655.

Latest SA stats:

Meanwhile, Health expert Dr Ramneek Ahluwalia, has emphasized the importance of vaccination programmes continuing, despite the emergence of new coronavirus variants across the globe.

This after concerns by the medical sector over a variant, first detected in India, which appears to be more infectious in younger age groups. The South African public has raised concerns – after a person, who had travelled from India – tested positive for COVID-19 in SA.

That person reportedly did not have the variant of COVID-19 found in India.

Dr Ahluwalia says vaccines still need to be administered to fight off the coronavirus.

“Viruses tend to only stay alive by mutating, so they can fight a human immunity. What we are going to be evaluating is whether the vaccination induced immunity is strong enough and will this virus continuously mutate itself to a level that it might even escape that immunity further. It is too early for us to say that our vaccines are ineffective. At this moment, vaccines are affective and vaccinations are a way of curbing the virus so we have to support vaccination programmes.”