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Thursday, 24 March 2022 22:07

SA records 2 120 new COVID-19 cases with a 6.6% positivity rate.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), reports 2 120 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3 709 209. 

This increase represents a 6.6% positivity rate.

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 33 deaths and of these, 6 occurred in the past 24 – 48 hours. This brings the total fatalities to 99 932 to date.

Meanwhile Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has commended government for the way it has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We did experience difficulties especially with the discovery of the omicron virus but we survived," Sisulu said on Thursday.

Speaking at the 4th South Africa Investment Conference currently underway at the Sandton Convention Centre, Sisulu said they are planning to have meetings with the municipalities to ask them to consider flat rates, especially for those businesses owing the municipalities.

"This is to try and assist those businesses in the tourism sector severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to recover from the pandemic," Sisulu said.

In a bid to assist the tourism sector to recover, Sisulu said they are also planning to train young people language skills.

"It is encouraging that when you arrive in a foreign country that somebody greets you in your language, "the Minister said.

Sisulu also said they are planning to work on improving security as this is one of the concerns raised by tourists.

"We have also targeted many places that we want to put on the map to attract tourists. This is to boost the tourism sector to attract more tourists into the country," Sisulu said.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the South African tourism industry.

During the pandemic, the tourism sector was severely affected, with most businesses closing down while others are still recovering.

According to the Tourism 2020 report released by Statistics South Africa, foreign arrivals dropped by 71% from just over 15.8 million in 2019 to less than 5 million in 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the tourism industry quite hard around the world and in South Africa, mainly due to the lockdown and travel restrictions that were imposed.

According to the report, the overall number of travellers (arrivals and departures) decreased by 71% between 2019 and 2020. The overall number of travellers decreased by 50.7% over a 15-year period from nearly 24.6 million recorded in 2006 to 12.1 million travellers recorded in 2020.

Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the lifting of several restrictions on Adjusted Alert Level 1.

President Ramaphosa said travellers entering South Africa will now need to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours.

"All unvaccinated travellers entering the country who want to be vaccinated will be offered a vaccination, "Ramaphosa said.