By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD),reports 9,199 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2,805,604. This increase represents a 15.1% positivity rate.
The majority of new cases today are from KwaZulu-Natal (26%), followed by Western Cape (21%). Eastern Cape accounted for 20%; Free State, Gauteng Province and Northern Cape each accounted for 7% respectively; Mpumalanga and North West each accounted for 5% respectively; and Limpopo Province accounted for 2% of today’s new cases.
NICD said a further 247 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 83,161 to date with 16,654,409 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors.
Meanwhile two weeks after launching the Athlone Vaccination Centre of Hope, the site has now officially opened as the Western Cape’s first drive-through centre that will start welcoming the public from today.
The site is said to be ideally situated to enable public transport access.
"In showcasing the ease of access to the site, I cycled along with 20 cyclists to it. On arrival, we were met by 11 motorists in vehicles waiting to be vaccinated," said Premier Alan Winde.
The Premier hopes that the centre will see the provincial government, the City of Cape and local public transport operators work together to ensure it attracts as many people as possible to come to receive their vaccination.
"We need to ensure we have maximum protection against a possible fourth wave, which is predicted to hit at the end of the year," Winde said.
Residents will now be able to get vaccinated without leaving their cars, while continuing to remain safe.
The drive-through offers five lanes to motorists.
The province said since opening its doors on 16 August, the site has already administered 9 722 vaccines and aims to immunise 4 000 people per day.
According to data, the province is currently leading in terms of the number of vaccines that have been distributed in the country.
"The measure of success for our vaccine programme will be in its ability to reach those who are most vulnerable, living in remote areas, and who may otherwise have accessibility issues.
"Ensuring that each resident has the opportunity to be vaccinated in a safe and conveniently located setting is the cornerstone of our vaccination programme, which we committed to when launching. We must ensure that no person is left behind," said Winde.
He has since thanked everyone who made the drive-through a reality including the Provincial Department of Health and the City of Cape Town.
"We have lost more than 18 300 of our family members and friends – let us not lose anymore.
"These vaccines will enable us to have a Christmas, New Year and celebrate each other’s achievements. It will also allow us to save our summer, and the many jobs created during this time. However, we can only do this if we have maximum protection within communities and the vaccine offers it," the Premier said.