SA records 5,486 new COVID-19 cases with 7 related deaths.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD),reports 5,486 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3 841 388.
The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng Province (40%) followed by KwaZulu-Natal (26%). Western Cape accounted for 17%; Free State accounted for 5%; Eastern Cape and North West each accounted for 3% respectively; Mpumalanga and Northern Cape each accounted for 2% respectively; and Limpopo accounted for <1% of today’s new cases.
This increase represents a 25.3% positivity rate.
The proportion of positive new cases/total new tested today is (25.3%), and is lower than yesterday (31.1%). The 7-day average is (24.3%) today, and is higher than yesterday (23.8%). The 7-day moving average daily number of cases has increased.
Today, the National Department of Health (NDoH) reports 7 deaths and of these, 5 occurred in the past 24 – 48 hours. This brings the total fatalities to 100,523 to date.
The World Health Organization has raised concerns around the growing number of Covid-19 cases in South Africa.
While this fifth wave of cases was largely expected, South Africans need to ensure they are fully vaccinated, Dr Owen Kaluwa, the World Health Organization representative in South Africa said.
"We know that a number of scientists predicted this would happen around this time. The debate as to whether we are already in a fifth wave or not is, in my view, not very important.
"What is important now, given the increasing numbers of infections, is for those who are not vaccinated to do so urgently. This includes those who are partially vaccinated," he said.
Despite this rapid increase in cases the country will not need to reintroduce lockdown restrictions, said health and social security expert Professor Alex van den Heever.
He pointed to the fact that South Africa follows a clear trend of increasing cases around July and December, with a combination of prior infections and vaccinations providing sufficient immunity for the population.
Health minister Joe Phaahla published new Covid regulations on Thursday (5 May), but these are seen as a temporary measure ahead of broader changes planned under the National Health Act in the coming month.
South Africa, which together with Botswana identified the omicron variant in November, was the first country to experience a wave driven by the strain and the way it played out was seen as an indication for what could happen elsewhere.
Last month South African scientists identified two omicron sublineages, BA.4 and BA.5, and laboratory experiments have since shown that those strains can reinfect those who have already had the original omicron strain.
The current surge in infections and positivity shows that even though previous waves have been caused by the emergence of new variants the sublineages are now having the same effect, Tulio de Oliveira, who runs gene sequencing institutes in South Africa, said.