The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says another 520 people have died from COVID 19 in the latest 24-hour reporting period, taking the overall official death toll to 70 908.

However, experts have said, the country’s real COVID-19 death toll could be substantially higher given the large number of excess deaths reported since the start of the pandemic.

This as the number of infections also continue to increase steadily. South Africa on Wednesday recorded 17 302  new cases of the coronavirus, pushing the total number of laboratory-confirmed infections to 2 408 525.

Recoveries now stand at 2 186 988.

Latest COVID-19 stats:

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COVID-19 fight

The latest figures come as the country has somehow stepped up its fight against the pandemic, now having inoculated over 10% of the population.

South Africa’s COVID battle also received a boost on Wednesday after the US government donated 5.7 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine to the country.

Washington has described the load as the largest bilateral vaccine donation to date and it is expected to begin arriving at OR Tambo International on July 31.