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Sunday, 17 April 2022 21:17

SA records 832 new COVID-19 cases with a 8.4% positivity rate.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), reports 832 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3 741 1230. 

The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng Province (55%), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (21%). Western Cape accounted for 16%; Eastern Cape accounted for 3%; Free State and North West accounted for 2% respectively; Mpumalanga accounted for 1%; and Limpopo and Northern Cape accounted for 0% respectively of today’s new cases. 

This increase represents an 8.4% positivity rate.

The proportion of positive new cases/total new tested today is (8.4%), and is higher than yesterday (6.9%). The 7-day average is (7.1%) today, and is higher than yesterday (6.6%). The 7-day moving average daily number of cases has increase.

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 3 deaths, and of these, 2 occurred in the past 24 – 48 hours. This brings the total fatalities to 100,147 to date.

The virologist whose discovery of the Omicron variant sparked Covid-19 travel bans on SA says if it happens again he will stop sharing his data internationally.

Tulio de Oliveira, head of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation at Stellenbosch University, said he would continue sharing data with the SA government, however, "to guide our own response".

De Oliveira made his comments during an interview with Nature about his laboratory's latest discovery: the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron.

On April 1, bioinformatician Eduan Wilkinson noticed the appearance of several abnormal SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences in new data and discovered they had gone unnoticed for several weeks.

The subvariants have now been detected in nine countries — SA, Botswana, Belgium, Denmark, the UK, China, France, Germany and Portugal — and scientists are working to decide whether the effect is serious enough to warrant interventions.

De Oliveira told Nature he is not panicking. "It's just time to work carefully and diligently, but calmly," he said.

Immunologists are exposing samples of BA.4 and BA.5 to blood from people previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and people who have been vaccinated to assess the resilience of immunity.

"This is why we straight away gave samples to researchers around the world," said De Oliveira.

After identifying BA.4 and BA.5, he also met the government and said it accepted his advice not to impose stricter regulations.