South Africa continues to see a decline in COVID-19 infections, with new cases dropping by 28% in the past seven days.
Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, also announced that hospitalisations fell by 35%, although over 5 000 COVID-19 patients are still receiving treatment as of Thursday.
In addition, the positivity rate is in the right direction with a seven-day average of 2.7%.
“We emphasise seven days averages because it’s more reliable than looking at the daily fluctuations,” he explained, adding that reported deaths are also down by 16%.
“It is good although we would prefer zero death.”
The latest data shows that the number of new cases increased by 947 on Thursday to a total of 2 914 827, while 40 more people lost their battle COVID-19.
According to Phaahla, it will take some time to see much lower numbers of deaths, as some patients are still admitted.
However, he predicted that there would be fewer admissions going forward.
Phaahla told the media on Friday that the inoculation programme remains stable having kept the momentum of the previous week after the three-day Vooma Vaccination Weekend held at the beginning of this month.
The data shows that the total of daily-administered doses has around 200 000 with some days just below that as was the case on Wednesday.
The country distributed 215 438 vaccines in the past 24 hours, pushing the total shy of 20 million at 19 899 964 million so far.
Meanwhile, individuals with at least one jab have reached over 13.8 million, which is 34.6% of all adults.
“So, we’re getting closer to 35% which will be half of the 70% we are targeting.”
In addition, the Western Cape is leading the pack after crossing the 40% mark at 43%, while the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Free State are sitting at over 39%.
He believes that three provinces will surpass the 40% by Monday next week.
Meanwhile, Gauteng is “pulling fairly well” with over 3.5 million jabbed. “But due to large population, that constitutes only 31.7% of the adult population,” he explained.
He raised concerns about Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, which are on the bottom half and said his department will continue to support the provinces.
COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate
He expressed his satisfaction with the enthusiasm with which South Africans have embraced the COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate.
As of Thursday, over more than 1.5 million certificates had been downloaded.
“We have also resent more than 10 million text messages with vaccination codes in case they were not saved after vaccination.”
He acknowledge the frustration experienced when the system was facing teething problems. “This was largely due to big numbers at peak demand times when the server could not cope,” he explained.
However, the development team at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is monitoring the traffic and making appropriate adjustments.
Phaahla said the priority is to protect citizens’ personal information.
“We apologise for the inconvenience to those who had to try many times especially those who had the pressure to use the certificate urgently. We are certain that the service will only get better as we improve daily.”
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In addition, he said the department is working toward more improvements in terms of access and security.
He urged the vaccinees to save their vaccination codes after vaccination.
Return to Play
He further welcomed the partnership of the Sport, Arts and Culture Department in promoting safe “Return to Play – It’s in your hands”.
Phaahla said he was pleased that football has led the way with the 2 000 spectators at FNB Stadium on Tuesday who had vaccination certificates as a condition for obtaining a ticket.
He said rugby will soon follow suit and those preparations are underway.
“I am confident that once we can be assured that the protocols are being well established we can ramp up the numbers in a safe environment,” he added.