Thursday, 22 April 2021 21:46

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said in a statement that the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases for South Africa is 1 571 348.

This is an increase of 1413 new cases identified in the last 24 hours.

The number of tests conducted to date is 10 447 673. Of these 34 493 tests were completed since the last report, said Mkhize.

Mkhize said a further 55 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 11, Free State 14, Gauteng 20, Kwa-Zulu Natal 3, Limpopo 0, Mpumalanga 1, North West 0, Northern Cape 0 and Western Cape 6which brings the total to 53 995 deaths.

The minister added that the cumulative recoveries today stand at 1 496 756, representing a recovery rate of 95%.

Meanwhile cabinet has welcomed the recommendation by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority to lift the suspension of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) Sisonke Vaccination Programme.

South Africa suspended the rollout in line with recommendations from the United States where six people developed a rare type of blood clot after taking the vaccine.

Johnson and Johnson subsequently suspended its rollout of the vaccine in Europe.

In a cabinet briefing on Thursday (22 April), minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said that South Africa suspended the programme in line with the government’s commitment to ensure that comprehensive safety measures are undertaken regarding the vaccine roll-out.

However, the reviewed data has confirmed that South Africa had not experienced any rare blood clots with the already vaccinated healthcare workers, she said.

Mkhize will announce the official recommencement of the programme shortly.

Cabinet also welcomed the successful negotiation of an additional 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The deal means that 30 million Pfizer vaccines are now headed for the country.

"This means South Africa will be able to vaccinate 15 million people with the Pfizer vaccine instead of just 10 million," Ntshavheni said.

To prepare for phase 2 of the vaccination rollout programme starting on 17 May 2021, Cabinet encouraged people aged 60 years and older to register on the Electronic Vaccination Data System.