South Africa recorded and new Lockdown Level 1 record of 4 932 daily Covid-19 infections on Friday.
In a statement, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, said an additional 33 415 tests had been performed and that the official infection total now stood at 805 804.
Another 160 deaths were reported, bringing that grim total to 21 963.
This would mean that South Africa now has over 43 000 active and confirmed and active cases at the moment.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) December 4, 2020
Mhkize visited the Garden Route on Friday to inspect plans aimed at addressing rising coronavirus infections in the region.
He met Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo and mayors of districts within the area to discuss the challenges faced due to the resurgence of Covid-19 cases.
The outbreaks in the Garden Route and Eastern Cape, which many fear could cause a second wave of the pandemic if not contained, have caught authorities by “surprise”, Mkhize said.
This is due to the rapid increase in cases, which have soared in only a matter of weeks.
On Thursday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation, saying that a more localised approach will be taken to quell infection flare-ups in hotspot areas.
This included a stricter curfew and the limitation of alcohol sales in the Nelson Mandela Metro. The rest of the country will remain on normal Lockdown Level 1, albeit with increased compliance monitoring by law enforcement officials.
WHO warns vaccines ‘do not equal zero Covid’
The roll-out of vaccines to fight the Covid-19 pandemic will not by itself eliminate the deadly coronavirus, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.
The WHO warned against complacency and what it said was an erroneous belief that because vaccines are on the near-horizon, the crisis is over.
“Vaccines do not equal zero Covid,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told a virtual news conference.
“Vaccines and vaccination will add a major, major, powerful tool to the tool kit that we have. But by themselves, they will not do the job.”
Britain on Wednesday became the first Western country to approve a vaccine for general use, piling pressure on other countries to follow suit swiftly.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that progress on vaccines “gives us all a lift and we can now start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“However, WHO is concerned that there is a growing perception that the pandemic is over.
“Many places are witnessing very high transmission of the virus, which is putting enormous pressure on hospitals, intensive care units and health workers.”
Global coronavirus infections passed 65 million on Friday.
The novel coronavirus has killed at least 1.5 million people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.
“The pandemic still has a long a way to run and decisions made by leaders and citizens in the coming days will determine both the course of the virus in the short term and when this pandemic will ultimately end,” said Tedros.
Additional reporting by News24 Wire.