By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize says the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases for South Africa is 1 551 501.
The cumulative total of tests conducted is 9 956 086 with 16 391 tests completed since the last report.
Mkhize said a further 8 more COVID-19 related deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 0, Free State 3, Gauteng 1, Kwa-Zulu Natal 2, Limpopo 0, Mpumalanga 0, North West 0, Northern Cape 1 and Western Cape 1; this brings the total to 52 954 deaths.
The minister added that the cumulative recoveries today stand at 1 476 605, representing a recovery rate of 95%.
The number of health care workers vaccinated under the Sisonke Protocol remains 269 102.
Meanwhile Health economist Professor Alex van den Heever says there is no sign of a third wave in South Africa at this point.
Van den Heever, who was speaking on SABC’s Morning Live programme, said the issue now was really how we prevent certain high-risk super-spreading periods from driving another wave of coronavirus infections.
According to the latest data from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), positivity rates were still below 5% and there were no signs of increased rates of infection in 50 of the 52 districts of the country.
In the Free State province there has been a slight increase in infections and hospital cases in the past few weeks. Two outliers, in Gauteng and Limpopo, have also shown slight increases in infections over the past few days.
Van den Heever said: "There is still a large population that is susceptible to infection, which means we can have serious waves coming forward, but it is largely waves being driven by super-spreading events. That’s clearly what happened in November and December, and therefore there is that risk now."
"So the issue is to prevent these super-spreading periods from driving another wave and I think that’s where the caution is going to lie. But there’s no sign of a third wave at this point, and it is entirely driven by human behaviour."he said.
Globally, there have been 127 877 462 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 2 796 561 deaths, reported to the World Health Organisation.