Tuesday, 04 January 2022 21:00

Covid-19 Daily Update:SA records 8 078 new COVID-19 cases with 139 related deaths.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD),reports 8 078 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3 483 590. 

This increase represents a 20.1% positivity rate. 

The majority of new cases today are from KwaZulu-Natal (28%) followed by Western Cape (22%). Gauteng accounted for 19%; Eastern Cape accounted for 13%; Free State accounted for 5%; Limpopo accounted for 4%; Mpumalanga and North West each accounted for 3% respectively; and Northern Cape accounted for 2% of today’s new cases. 

The number of cases today (n= 8 078) is higher than yesterday (n= 3 232) but lower than the average number of cases per day over the 7 preceding days (n= 8 466). The 7-day moving average daily number of cases has decreased.

NICD said a further 139 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 91 451 to date.

Meanwhile South African Breweries (SAB) says it is considering the introduction of a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination policy for staff across its operations.

SAB, which is part of the Anheuser-Busch InBev group, is responsible for producing some of the country’s most popular alcoholic brands including Carling Black Label and Castle Lager.

The brewer, which employs approximately 9,400 people, said in a statement on Tuesday (4 January), that it will begin a consultation process in January, with a final decision on mandatory vaccines to be made in ‘due course’.

"As a pro-vaccination company, we aim to safeguard our employees in the workplace and aid the country in its drive to overcome the pandemic and recover the economy," it said.

SAB has been forced to stop selling alcohol four times since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, and has faced numerous sales restrictions as the government introduced numerous regulations to ease the strain on the country’s hospitals.

"The Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect all aspects of the lives of millions of people across the world, and in South Africa the pandemic has had a devastating effect on society and the economy,"SAB said.

"As a result of the previous waves of infections, our industry has been severely impacted by lockdown regulations and alcohol bans, and we believe that vaccination is key to protecting the one million lives and livelihoods supported by the alcohol industry."

The brewer said that it intends to explore mandatory vaccination to access all its sites – based on the following facts:

  • Covid-19 is an unprecedented health tragedy that has caused significant excess deaths in South Africa;
  • Vaccines are effective and safe and are our best defence against Covid-19 as it reduces severe illness and hospital admissions;
  • Vaccines are freely available, and the issue is no longer one of access but of vaccine hesitancy; and
  • As an employer, we have a legal obligation to create a safe working environment for all employees.

While the government has remained quiet on introducing vaccination mandates, several businesses in the country have already introduced mandatory vaccination policies – most recently Standard Bank and telecommunications group MTN in December 2021.