As the country reaches the peak of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, people have been urged to continue to take the necessary precautions to avoid infection.
By Sunday January 10, more than 1.2 million people had been infected with the virus since the start of the pandemic and a total of more than 33 000 deaths were reported. The Western Cape’s case totals stood at over 240 000.
Natalie Watlington, spokesperson for the Western Cape Health Department’s southern sub-district said there had been 24 205 total infections in the areas served by Southern Mail since the beginning of the pandemic, of which 4 456 were currently active, with 19 026 recoveries and 723 deaths. These numbers were updated on Friday January 8.
Last week alone there were 2 575 new cases and 106 deaths.
The country is currently on an “adjusted” level 3 lockdown and President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation this week to give an update on the country’s status and if more measures will be applied to flatten the curve.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said hospitals and other health facilities were under severe pressure.
Meanwhile the national government has set up structures to expedite the financing, sourcing and procurement of a vaccine for Covid-19.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that the country’s first batch would become available soon: “We believe that vaccines have to be made available to all the South Africans, starting with front line healthcare workers and the most vulnerable to ensure there is protection for them first as the most vulnerable groups.”
He said the vaccines would need to be made available quickly so that most citizens were covered by the end of the first year of rollout- this year. Dr Mkhize said the government was mindful of the urgency because of the impact of the second wave.
A targeted minimum of 67% of the population needed to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity and the approach would be a phased rollout of the vaccine, beginning with the most vulnerable in the population including front line healthcare workers, in the second phase the vaccine will be made available to essential workers, the elderly and those over the age of 18 who have comorbidities. The third phase will target South Africans over the age of 18. If things go according to plan more than 40-million citizens will have been immunised.