Saturday, 02 January 2021 00:14

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Friday that on the first of the 2021 South Africa recorded 16 726 new cases of Covid-19 and 418 more Covid-19 related deaths.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases in South Africa is now 1 073 887 and the the total detected deaths has reached 28 887.

The Eastern Cape reported 66 Covid-related deaths on Friday, the Free State 8 , Gauteng 66, KwaZulu-Natal 134, Mpumalanga 6, and Western Cape 138.

The cumulative total of tests done to date is 6 659 318 with 50 110 tests conducted in the past 24 hours.

Mkhize said the 16 726 new cases represent a positivity rate of 33.4%.

The total recoveries are 887 701, representing a recovery rate of 82,6%.

Meanwhile BioNTech is working flat out with partner Pfizer to boost production of their COVID-19 vaccine, its founders have said, warning there would be gaps in supply until other vaccines were rolled out.

The German biotech startup has led the vaccine race but its shot has been slow to arrive in the European Union due to relatively slow approval from the bloc’s health regulator and the small size of the order placed by Brussels.

The delays have caused consternation in Germany, where some regions had to temporarily close vaccination centres days after the launch of an inoculation drive on December 27.

"At the moment it doesn’t look good – a hole is appearing because there’s a lack of other approved vaccines and we have to fill the gap with our own vaccine," BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin told the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel in an interview.

A shot from Moderna is expected to be cleared by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on January 6.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn has urged the EMA to also quickly approve a vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca that Britain cleared this week. The EU timeline for that treatment remains uncertain.

A next-generation vaccine that would keep at higher temperatures could be ready by late summer.

Compiled by Lehlohonolo Lehana.