By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize urged South Africans to continue to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocol. His warnings come as the country is currently experiencing a decline in the number of daily Covid cases reported.
Mkhize said South Africa has recorded 3 184 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the country’s total cases to 1 473 700.
Gauteng still accounts for the highest number of cases, 393 555, of the country’s total infections followed by KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) with 320 579.
The death toll has climbed to 46 180 after 278 new COVID-19 related deaths were reported.
A further 278 COVID-19 related deaths: Eastern Cape 20, Free State 20, Gauteng 50, KwaZulu-Natal 109, Limpopo three, Mpumalanga 19 and Western Cape 57; which brings the total to 46 180 deaths, said Mkhize.
South Africa has conducted 8 469 756 COVID-19 tests so far, with 33 187 conducted in the last 24-hour cycle, and the recoveries stand at 1 340 497.
Globally, there is a cumulative count of 106 177 449 Covid cases with 2 315 140 deaths and 77 814 951 recoveries.
Meanwhile Deputy President David Mabuza, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on COVID-19 Vaccines, has engaged various sectors of society on government’s vaccination rollout plan.
During the consultations with traditional leaders, inter-faith leaders and social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), the Deputy President was joined by Ministers, who are members of the vaccines IMC.
In welcoming the consultation, traditional leaders said they were encouraged by government’s initiative to meet with them early on in the process.
"With these engagements, they expressed hope that all of society will get behind government’s vaccines rollout plan. They all committed to be part of the rollout and work in partnership with government in encouraging their communities and constituencies to take part in the vaccination programme," the Presidency said on Thursday.
Traditional leaders called for the implementation of stringent measures to prevent any possible acts of corruption in the rollout of the vaccines.
"It was also agreed that through Government Communication and Information Systems, a communication toolkit in all official languages will be developed for communities in order to enhance social mobilisation and garner support for vaccination.
"Equally so, the consultations with inter-faith leaders were positive and they were all united in their commitment to partner with government, including availing their facilities as vaccination sites should such a need arise," the Presidency said.
They further called on government to involve young people in the religious sector to counter negative sentiments and fake news about vaccines.
Social partners in Nedlac, namely organised business, labour and community constituencies, reaffirmed their commitment to continue working with government in the fight against COVID-19 and to build on existing initiatives of fighting the virus, including the rollout of vaccines.
Organised business also reaffirmed their support of the government-led and centralised vaccine procurement, and their participation in both resource and social mobilisation programme. In this regard, they expressed their full confidence in government’s ability to secure the adequate amount of doses required to achieve population immunity," the Presidency said.
Organised labour encouraged government to draw on the lessons learnt in the rollout of anti-retroviral drugs and use this opportunity to build the capacity to manufacture vaccines locally.
The Community Constituency committed to partner with government to mobilise civil society to participate in the vaccination programme and stem the tide of fake news within society.
"We are encouraged by the positive spirit of cooperation that we received from traditional leaders, inter-faith leaders and social partners at Nedlac. We appreciate that this process does not end here, but it is ongoing engagement and partnership, as we work together towards population immunity.
"We are grateful for the commitment to partner as expressed by social partners at Nedlac, traditional leaders and inter-faith leaders," Mabuza said.
The IMC on vaccines was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to provide political oversight of the vaccination programme, including its acquisition, distribution and rollout.