Monday, 19 April 2021 22:28

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize says the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases for South Africa now stands at 1 567 513.

This is an increase of 744 new cases identified and the number of tests conducted to date is 10 355 196. Of these 18 130 tests were completed since the last report.

Mkhize said a further 21 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 10, Free State 2, Gauteng 1, Kwa-Zulu Natal 1, Limpopo 0, Mpumalanga 3, North West 0, Northern Cape 0 and Western Cape 4 which brings the total to 53 757 deaths.

The minister added that the cumulative recoveries today stand at 1 490 876, representing a recovery rate of 95%.

Meanwhile Mkhize visited the Western Cape, albeit against a backdrop of the devastating mountain fire that has caused calculable and incalculable losses.

The minister said the mass vaccination campaign, due to begin officially on 17 May 2021, is soon upon us and represents hope for the nation after the social, economic and psychological carnage left by COVID-19. It is for this reason that he has embarked on a nationwide tour to assess the readiness of provinces to rollout the vaccines at the anticipated rate that will be required to achieve population immunity by the first quarter in 2022.

He has completed three provincial visits and, so far, he is satisfied that Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Western Cape understand the requirements and have the inclination to rise to the occasion.

Mkhize is also pleased that the Province’s plan aligns with the National Department of Health strategy. He reassured the Premier, Hon. Alan Winde, and the MEC Hon. Dr. Nomafrench Mbombo, that National Department has secured enough vaccines for all the provinces (both for public and private sector) and that Western Cape will get as many vaccines as they need to achieve population immunity. Therefore there is no need for any provincial government to procure its own vaccines.

He outlined the expected quarterly delivery schedule, which stands as follows:

This schedule shows that, provided they receive the vaccines as committed to by the manufacturers, they will be able to vaccinate 46,2 million South Africans by the by the end of the fourth quarter, that is March 2022. This tally excludes the 500 000 that will be vaccinated under the Sisonke Protocol. The minister is also hopeful that COVAX will be able to deliver 1,2 million doses this quarter.

The minister added has expressed appreciation to the 343 420 senior citizens who had already registered on the EVDS as at 18.00 this evening and he urges all South Africans to assist their friends, family and neighbours who are 60 years and older to register on the EVDS by accessing the portal online at vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za.