As of Friday, 22 January 2021, the cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases is 1 392 568 with 11,761 new cases identified, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed.
575 more Covid-19 related deaths were reported, with 129 from Eastern Cape, 37 from Free State, 166 from Gauteng, 133 from Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN), 18 from Mpumalanga, 15 from Northern Cape and 77 from Western Cape.
This brings the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 40,076.
“We convey our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the health workers that treated the deceased,” the minister said.
Recoveries now stand at 1,201,284 representing a recovery rate of 86%.
Meanwhile, a total of 7,882 846 tests have been completed with 62,251 new tests conducted since the last report.
Promising signs of virus decline
Mkhize revealed that there has seen some promising signs of decline in Covid-19 transmissions, which was 19% as of Friday from a high of 36% in the Covid-19 second wave.
The minister also said there was a promising evidence of downward deflection of admission numbers.
“We are hoping that this decline in numbers is going to bring the much required reprieve to our overwhelmed health facilities, both in the public and private sector. We are closely monitoring this to inform our process of recommending the review of some of the restrictions that are currently in place.
“We do, however, continue to caution that the transmission rate is still very high and we need to ensure that it is reduced to an acceptable level before we can ease restrictions,” he said.
On the Covid-19 vaccine, Mkhize said the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has granted approval to the Serum Institute of India to supply the department with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“We will, in the next coming days, engage with the public in order to give an update on the progress of the first batch of the vaccines that we committed would be received in the first quarter.
“At this stage we would like to assure South Africans that all is on track. We are working closely with all relevant stakeholders to ensure a smooth implementation of the vaccine roll-out program,” he continued to say.
The minister further said the department has also been offered vaccines from private agents.
“As a department we have resolved and wish to advise the public that it is critical that any such agent and vaccine authenticity must be verified directly with manufacturers. This is the only way, in our view, to guarantee the quality of the vaccines that may be acquired through third parties,” he added.