SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa’s government has said the country seems to be over the peak of the third wave, a development that could give it scope to ease a ban on alcohol sales and other restrictions.
The country recorded 14,858 new cases in the past 24 hours, down from 16,240 the day before, indicating the pandemic was “on a downward trend,” acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi, said.
While yesterday’s total infections were lower than the day before, they were higher than the seven-day average of 12,727, according to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.
The test positivity rate in the week ended July 11 was 32.4%, exceeded only by the 34.6% recorded in the week ended Dec. 27, NICD data showed. The rate is seen as an indicator of overall infection rates.
Despite the riots that ravaged the country in the last few days, South Africa has continually immunized its citizens against COVID-19.
According to the National Health Department’s figures, around 5.5 million South Africans have been vaccinated. Over 1 million people have received the J&J vaccine and 4.5 million others got the Pfizer jab.
However, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) is probing the deaths of 28 people who apparently died after receiving their COVID-19 vaccine jabs.
The study will be conducted to determine if these fatalities are directly linked to the vaccination in the country that is administering U.S. vaccines, including Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer.
“We need to determine if the event that we saw is indeed related to the vaccine or related to something else. These are very comprehensive studies that would be conducted,” SAHPRA’s CEO Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela said.
SAHPRA said they have received 3,730 reports of adverse events following immunization, and 279 reports of what it terms adverse events of special interest.
According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, the country has 2,356,049 laboratory-confirmed cases and 69,075 fatalities. The total number of vaccines administered stands at 6,085,108.
It is hoped that a ramp-up of the country’s vaccination efforts will help address any future surges. Kubayi said South Africa is now vaccinating around 250,000 people daily, with plans to vaccinate 300,000 people each day in the next few weeks.
To bolster the vaccine rollout programme, the government will keep more public vaccination sites open over the weekend, with all public sites set to offer weekend vaccinations by August, the acting minister said.
The government is also expected to announce the next cohort of people who can register for the vaccine in the next week, with a focus on people aged 18 years and older.
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