By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD),reports 11 215 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2 295 095. This increase represents a 29.3% positivity rate.
The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (39%), followed by Western Cape (19%). Limpopo and Mpumalanga each accounted for 9%; KwaZulu-Natal and North West each accounted for 7%; Eastern Cape accounted for 5%; Free State accounted for 3%; and Northern Cape accounted for 2% of today’s new cases.
There has been an increase of 400 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.
NICD said a further 183 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 66 859 to date.
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Meanwhile Tunisia has registered its highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic as the Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads and vaccine availability remains low.
The country’s health ministry said 205 fatalities had been recorded in the past 24 hours and 6,787 new cases.
The record deaths come amid looming questions over Tunisia’s ability to curb a new wave of infections as intensive care units are filled and hospitals struggle with a lack of oxygen supplies.
Last week, the health ministry warned that the health system had "collapsed" amid a significant influx of patients in hospitals. "The boat is sinking," Health Ministry Nisaf Ben Alaya said, calling on Tunisians to unite in efforts to combat the pandemic.
The situation is compounded by the slow pace of the vaccination campaign in Tunisia, where only about 13 percent of people have received at least one dose of a two-shot vaccine, according to Our World in Data.
The country of 12 million people has recorded so far 533,274 cases and 17,214 deaths, according to a tally by the John Hopkins University.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that Tunisia was the country with the highest coronavirus mortality rate per capita in the Middle East region and in Africa.
Overall, the Eastern Mediterranean region is currently experiencing a surge in cases after an eight-week decline in cases and deaths, WHO said.
Besides Tunisia, there had been significant increases in COVID-19 cases in Libya, Iran and Iraq, with sharp rises expected in Lebanon and Morocco.