Friday, 23 April 2021 22:14

By Lehlohonolo Lehana

Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize says the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases for South Africa is 1 572 985.

This is an increase of 1637 new cases identified in the last 24 hours.

Mkhize said a further 71 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 14, Free State 2, Gauteng 3, Kwa-Zulu Natal 5, Limpopo 0, Mpumalanga 3, North West 40, Northern Cape 2 and Western Cape 2which brings the total to 54 066 deaths.

The number of tests conducted to date is 10 481 576. Of these 33 903 tests were completed since the last report,said Mkhize.

The minister added that cumulative recoveries today stand at 1 499 110, representing a recovery rate of 95%.

Meanwhile the world is focused on critically important new vaccines to protect people against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Health has underscored the need to ensure that routine vaccinations are not missed.

The department made the remarks as South Africa joins the global community in commemorating World Immunisation Week to promote the importance of vaccination, by bringing people together and improving the health and wellbeing of everyone. 

World Immunisation Week is commemorated every year in the last week of April to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.

World Immunisation Week 2021 will be commemorated under the theme, ‘Vaccines bring us closer’, which calls for greater engagement around immunisation to promote the importance of vaccination in bringing people together and improving their health and wellbeing. 

In a statement on Friday, the department noted that many children were not vaccinated, since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. This leaves them at risk of serious vaccine preventable diseases including measles, polio, whooping cough, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis B, TB, haemophilus influenza, diarrhoea, and pneumococcal infections, which cost humanity hundreds of millions of lives.  

"In South Africa, about 298 935 children missed their routine immunisation since the beginning of COVID-19 lockdown, which suggests that they might be vulnerable to childhood diseases," the department said.