Friday, 19 February 2021 22:01

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said in a statement that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa have risen to 1 500 677 with 1 911 new cases identified since the last report.

The cumulative total of tests conducted to date is 8 838 937 with 31 638 new tests recorded since the last report.

Mkhize said that a further 151 more COVID-19 related deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 12, Free State 21, Gauteng 43, Kwa-Zulu Natal 40, Limpopo 1, Mpumalanga 8, North West 0,Northern Cape 0 and Western Cape 26 which brings the total to 48 859 deaths.

The minister added that the recoveries now stand at 1 406 907, representing a recovery rate of 93,7%.

According to the World Health Organisation, there have been 109 594 835 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 2 424 060 deaths.

Meanwhile Mkhize said that efforts were under way to procure more vaccines. He reiterated his comments that so far, through ongoing negotiations, the country had enough vaccines to inoculate 40 million people.

Another 500 000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were expected to arrive in four weeks and thereafter about 500 000 Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses were also expected next month.

The minister said 7 million doses were expected from Pfizer by June. The company is expected to provide the country with a total of 20 million vaccine doses.

Other notable commitments have been from the World Health Organization’s Covax scheme which has confirmed a total of 12 million doses for the country. The AU has assured South Africa would get doses from the Africa procurement programme.

Dr Aslam Dasoo, from the Progressive Health Forum, said the government’s ability to quickly turnaround the failure of the AstraZeneca vaccine roll-out symbolised promise.

"This allows us to begin our vaccine programme, maybe not on the scale that we wanted to but we start on time. This has been hugely advantageous. So now you have an effective vaccine on top of it is a one-shot vaccine," Dasoo said.