Wednesday, 17 March 2021 23:33

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday that South Africa recorded 1,531 new Covid-19 infections and 74 deaths in the past 24 hours.

This means that there have now been 1,532,497 cases recorded to date, along with 51,634 confirmed coronavirus-related fatalities.

The new infections come from 34,419 tests at a positivity rate of 4.45%.

Of the newly recorded deaths, 38 were in Gauteng, 15 were in the Free State, seven were in Mpumalanga, six were in the Western Cape, four were in KwaZulu-Natal, two were in the Northern Cape and Limpopo and the Eastern Cape had one each. There were no fatalities recorded in the North West.

Mkhize added that there had been 1,459,056 recoveries recorded across the country, at a recovery rate of 95%.

There were also 11,127 vaccines administered between 6.30pm on Tuesday and 6.30pm on Wednesday, meaning that 168,413 health workers have now received their Covid-19 jabs.

Meanwhile the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has approved the Section 21 application for Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

According to SAHPRA, the main purpose of Section 21 is to provide access to medicines on an exceptional basis, where conventional therapies have been ruled out, have failed or are unavailable as marketed products.

"This must always have regard to the safety, efficacy and quality of medicines accessed through Section 21 which are set out in Regulation 29."

South Africa has ordered 20 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.

Early this month, Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, said the country was anticipating about 600 000 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to land in South Africa before the end of March.

Pfizer/BioNTech is 95% effective, requires two shots and efficacy was consistent across age, gender, race and ethnicity demographics, according to the phase three study.

According to the American multinational pharmaceutical corporation, it is expected to produce up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.