Covid-19 Daily Update: SA records 8,515 new cases with 105 related deaths.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD),reports a total of 8,515 new positive cases of Covid-19, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3.316,585.
This increase represents a 29.9% positivity rate.
The majority of new cases today are from KwaZulu-Natal (29%), followed by Gauteng (22%). Western Cape accounted for 19%; Eastern Cape accounted for 8%; North West 7%. Free State accounted for 5%; Mpumalanga accounted for 4%; Limpopo and Northern Cape each accounted for 3% of today’s new cases.
NICD said a further 105 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 90,453 to date.
Meanwhile the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) on Covid-19 has recommended that contact tracing and quarantining be stopped with immediate effect for contacts of cases of coronavirus.
The MAC said it made the recommendations due to the high proportion of people with immunity to Covid-19 due to either infection or vaccination, and therefore quarantining of contacts should be stopped as it was no longer viable in South Africa’s current social and economic climate.
The committee made the recommendations in an advisory to Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla, dated 16 December 2021.
"As current testing only identifies a small minority of all Covid-19 cases, quarantining contacts of these cases serves no demonstrable general public health purpose. Furthermore, quarantining is not feasible in many social settings, and is associated with both significant strain on staffing levels and costs to the individual and to the broader society.
Since quarantining contacts of cases no longer serves a public health role, identifying contacts of Covid-19 cases (i.e. contact tracing) equally serves very little role.
"In addition, contact tracing is impractical once the Covid-19 caseload rises (due to the large number of contacts that have to be identified for each case), and is extremely burdensome in its use of human and financial resources," the MAC said in its advisory.
The committee made the findings after a technical working group was constituted consisting of experts from the MAC on Covid-19, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), the National Institute of Occupational Health, and the fields of public health and infectious diseases.
Should the recommendations be adopted by the Department of Health, they would apply to vaccinated and non-vaccinated contacts and no testing for Covid-19 is required, irrespective of the exposure risk, unless the contact becomes symptomatic.