Thursday, 07 January 2021 22:39

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize in his daily update said South Africa has recorded 20 999 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 1 170 590.

The country has also recorded 441 new COVID-19 related fatalities, pushing the death toll to 31 809.

Mkhize says: "Regrettably, we report 441 new COVID-19 related deaths: Eastern Cape 70, Free State 23, Gauteng 75, KwaZulu-Natal 132, Limpopo 11, Mpumalanga 7, Northern Cape 4 and Western Cape 119 which brings the total to 31 809 deaths."

Recoveries now stand at 938 216, representing a recovery rate of 80.1%.

Mkhize also announced on Thursday that the first million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will land in South Africa this month.

He released a statement shortly after he finished briefing Parliament's portfolio committee on health.

He said we need to vaccinate between 67% and 70% of the population to break the cycle of transmission.

Briefing MPs, Mkhize said they wanted to get that done in 12 months but immunising 40 million people in a year was no small task.

The department is planning on rolling out over 300,000 vaccinations a day.

Finding the staff to pull that off is a challenge in and of itself, even in the best-case scenario that every vaccinator can inoculate 50 people a day, a small army of 6,300 vaccinators will be needed.

He said we need to vaccinate between 67% and 70% of the population to break the cycle of transmission.

Briefing MPs, Mkhize said they wanted to get that done in 12 months but immunising 40 million people in a year was no small task.

The department is planning on rolling out over 300,000 vaccinations a day.

Finding the staff to pull that off is a challenge in and of itself, even in the best-case scenario that every vaccinator can inoculate 50 people a day, a small army of 6,300 vaccinators will be needed.

For rural areas, they will run an outreach programme.

"We get one hospital and it runs up the clinics and centres where health workers are so in that district, everyone is covered."

After the healthcare workers are vaccinated, the next massive logistical undertaking begins, vaccinating thousands of staffers who're considered vital to the functioning of society - among them police members, teachers and miners.

Compiled by Lehlohonolo Lehana.