Friday, 05 February 2021 21:33

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said in a statement that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases identified in South Africa now stands at 1 470 516.

This is an increase of 3 749 new cases identified since the last report.

Mkhize said the cumulative total of tests conducted to date is 8 436 569 with 36 250 new tests recorded since the last report.

A further 297 COVID-19 related deaths were reported: Eastern Cape 49, Free State 40, Gauteng 52, Kwa-Zulu Natal 35, Limpopo 68, Mpumalanga 16, Northern Cape 2 and Western Cape 35 which brings the total to 45 902 deaths.

The minister added that the recoveries now stand at 1 335 618, representing a recovery rate of 90,8%.

Meanwhile President Cyril Ramaphosa has commended the Indian government and its people for the gift to the world in the form of vaccines and scientific knowledge.

Ramaphosa applauded India during a telephonic conversation with the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, on Thursday.

The telephone call follows the arrival in South Africa of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from the Serum Institute of India on Monday.

In a statement on Thursday, the Presidency said President Ramaphosa conveyed the profound gratitude expressed by the people of South Africa to India for its solidarity with South Africa in fighting the pandemic.

The leaders also shared their concern that the COVID-19 virus is mutating constantly, presenting more challenges and new waves in all countries.

"Prime Minister Modi indicated that India will be developing one or two more vaccines and that India will continue to support countries in Africa with a special package of vaccines. India will also support the COVAX facility – a joint initiative of The Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organisation - with 13 million doses by the end of February 2021.

"The two leaders noted that there is growing support internationally for the proposal submitted by South Africa and India to the World Trade Organisation’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council for a temporary waiver of certain TRIPS obligations. The waiver will make vaccines more affordable and enable local production," the Presidency said.

Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Modi further reflected on the strong bilateral relations between South Africa and India, highlighting the importance of the strategic partnership that exists between the two countries.

The leaders acknowledged the importance of economic cooperation to address the devastating impact the pandemic has had on the global economy.

Prime Minister Modi commended the able leadership demonstrated in South Africa’s containment of the pandemic in the face of a continually mutating and highly transmissible virus.

"South Africa congratulates India on assuming a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. South Africa will work with India to address peace and security issues as part of building a better world," the Presidency said.

Compiled by Lehlohonolo Lehana.