Sunday, 23 January 2022 22:45

Covid-19 Daily Update: SA records 1 931 new cases with 114 related deaths.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD),reports 1 931 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3 581 359. 

This increase represents an 8.6% positivity rate. 

The 7-day moving average daily number of cases has decreased once again today.

The proportion of positive new cases/total new tested today is 8.6%, which is lower than yesterday (9.2%). The 7-day average is 9.6% today, which is lower than it was yesterday (9.9%).

The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (26%), followed by Western Cape (20%). KwaZulu-Natal accounted for 19%; Mpumalanga accounted for 9%; Limpopo accounted for 8%; North West accounted for 7%; Eastern Cape accounted for 5%; Northern Cape accounted for 4%; and Free State accounted for 3% of today’s new cases.

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 114 deaths and of these, 17 occurred in the past 24 – 48 hours. This brings the total fatalities to 94 177 to date.

Meanwhile the Omicron variant has moved the Covid-19 pandemic into a new phase and could bring it to an end in Europe, the WHO Europe director said Sunday.

"It’s plausible that the region is moving towards a kind of pandemic endgame," Hans Kluge told AFP in an interview, adding that Omicron could infect 60 percent of Europeans by March.

Once the current surge of Omicron currently sweeping across Europe subsides, "there will be for quite some weeks and months a global immunity, either thanks to the vaccine or because people have immunity due to the infection, and also lowering seasonality."

"So we anticipate that there will be a period of quiet before Covid-19 may come back towards the end of the year, but not necessarily the pandemic coming back," Kluge said.

The Omicron variant, which studies have shown generally leads to less severe infection among vaccinated people than Delta, has raised long-awaited hopes that Covid-19 is starting to shift from a pandemic to a more manageable endemic illness like seasonal flu. 

"There is a lot of talk about endemic but endemic means … that it is possible to predict what’s going to happen. This virus has surprised (us) more than once so we have to be very careful", Kluge said.

In the WHO Europe region, which comprises 53 countries including several in Central Asia, Omicron represented 15 percent of new cases as of January 18, compared to 6.3 percent a week earlier, the health body said.