Thursday, 13 January 2022 22:15

NICD reports 159 new Covid-19 deaths and 5,920 new cases in SA.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), reports 5,920 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,546,808. 

This increase represents a 14.3% positivity rate. 

The majority of new cases today are from Western Cape (25%), followed by Gauteng (20%). Kwa-Zulu Natal accounted for 19%; Eastern Cape and Limpopo each accounted for 9% respectively; Mpumalanga and North West each accounted for 5% respectively; Free State and Northern Cape each accounted for 4% respectively of today’s new cases. 

The proportion of positive new cases/total new tested today is 14.3% which is lower than yesterday (15.5%). The 7-day average is 16.4% today, which is lower than yesterday (17.3%) .

Due to the ongoing audit exercise by the National Department of Health (NDoH), there may be a backlog of COVID-19 mortality cases reported. Today, the NDoH reports 159 deaths and of these, 51 occurred in the past 24 – 48 hours. This brings the total fatalities to 92,989 to date.

Meanwhile if an employee does not want to be vaccinated, companies are entitled to demand negative Covid-19 tests from them on a regular basis, says Business Unity South Africa (Busa) chief executive Cas Coovadia.

Coovadia said that these options are detailed in the Department of Employment and Labour’s directive on vaccination in the workplace, which was published in June 2021.

"The directive does give employers the wherewithal to insist that their staff do vaccinate and if they do not vaccinate, it is their choice. And if they don’t want to vaccinate, then they have got to demonstrate that they do not have Covid-19. This is to protect the workplace and those workers in the workplace that choose to vaccinate," he said.

We appeal to employers to apply those directives in a way that does ensure that people are given the proper choices and proper decisions."

Coovadia said Busa would be pursuing a declaratory order from the country’s courts on Covid-19 mandatory vaccinations, amid ongoing debate and disputes over the matter.

This will provide legal certainty and help put an end to the confusion in the business sector, he said.

South African Breweries (SAB) is the latest major company to consider the introduction of a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination policy for staff in South Africa, however, it almost certainly won’t be the last as the issue is expected to be discussed in boardrooms and the courts in the coming months.

South Africa’s Constitutional Court is set to be one of the critical decision-makers around introducing mandatory Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa, with several groups announcing plans this week to approach the country’s apex court for clarity.

Partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac)  also expected to approach South Africa’s apex court for clarity around vaccine mandates in the coming weeks.

Addressing a Nedlac meeting on 7 December, Labour minister Thulas Nxesi said that the group is expected to approach the Constitutional Court for a legal declarator on vaccine mandates in 2022.