By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD),reports 8 988 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2 470 746. This increase represents a 19.8% positivity rate.
The majority of new cases today are from Western Cape and Gauteng which accounted for (25%) each, followed by KwaZulu-Natal (19%) Eastern Cape accounted for 9%; Mpumalanga accounted for 6%; North West accounted for 5%; Free State and Limpopo accounted for 4% each; and Northern Cape accounted for 2% of today’s new cases.
NICD said a further 555 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 72 992 to date.
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Meanwhile the World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking $11.5 billion in urgent funding to fight the more infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus, a draft report seen by Reuters shows, amid worries wealthy nations are partly bypassing its COVID-19 programmes.
A large portion of the cash being requested from the WHO's partners is needed to buy tests, oxygen and face masks in poorer nations, says the document which is expected to be released this week. And a quarter of it would be to buy hundreds of millions of vaccines for them that would otherwise go elsewhere.
The paper, still subject to changes, outlines the results and financial needs of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), the programme co-led by the WHO to distribute fairly COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and tests across the world.
The programme, set up at the start of the pandemic, remains vastly underfunded, and its coordinators are now acknowledging it will remain so as many governments look to address global COVID needs "differently", an ACT-A official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
As a result, it has cut by nearly $5 billion its total request for funds, the document shows. But it still needs $16.8 billion, almost as much as what has been raised so far, and $7.7 billion is required urgently.
The document also calls for a further $3.8 billion, on top of the $7.7 billion, to take up options for 760 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines that would be delivered next year.
"These options to buy need to be exercised in the coming months or vaccine doses will be lost," the document warns.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week said that $7.7 billion were urgently needed, but did not give a breakdown of planned spending, and did not say how much extra money was needed for vaccines.
The WHO was not immediately available to comment.
The latest cash crunch will underscore concerns about the long-term future of the programme, which has struggled to secure supplies and equipment to tame a pandemic that has killed more than 4.2 million.