Yesterday President Cyril Ramaphosa placed Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on “special leave” in order to deal with allegations related to his reported links to Digital Vibes and irregularities with contracts. The entire saga has proved a distraction for Mkhize and it remains to be seen how it will impact the efforts to fight COVID-19 in South Africa long term.
In order to allay any fears, Dr Sandile Buthelezi, South African Director General of Health issued a statement regarding the National Department of Health’s (NDoH) efforts in that regard.
“As Director General, I wish to reassure the nation that we remain committed and capable of managing the COVID-19 pandemic; executing a ramped up vaccination programme and running the national programmes as we are led by the Acting Minister of Health, Hon. Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane,” his statement explained.
“There are a number of developments on the vaccination front which we will communicate in a public webinar this week, on a date to be confirmed. However, our spirits were lifted today when we learnt that we have officially vaccinated over 1 million senior citizens aged 60 years and above under phase two,” Buthelezi added.
While the point about vaccinations is valid, with the latest report confirming that 1 043 278 Pfizer vaccines have been administered to date, these are only the first dose, however, and will require a second dose to be administered, which complicates the numbers slightly. As such, the 1 524 589 total vaccines that have been administered to date, does not offer a true reflection of the country’s inoculations or indeed its population immunity.
There is therefore quite a bit more work to be done in ramping up the Sisonke Protocol vaccine rollout in Mkhize’s absence.
Looking at the other latest figures, 4 209 new cases have been reported over the past 24 hours, with the total number of infections to date now 1 704 058. The recovery rate remains at 93 percent, while 120 new fatalities have been recorded over the past 24 hours, pushing the death toll resulting from COVID-19 in South Africa to 57 183.
The full breakdown of COVID-19 in South Africa is as follows:
|Provinces||Confirmed Cases||Recoveries||Active cases||Deaths|
|Western Cape||297 026||280 425||1 996||11 894|
|Eastern Cape||198 910||186 091||210||11 684|
|Northern Cape||53 099||44 348||3 554||1 186|
|Free State||104 809||91 284||2 398||4 488|
|KwaZulu-Natal||341 334||325 402||5 041||10 541|
|North West||79 315||70 077||2 881||1 949|
|Mpumalanga||84 147||81 018||991||1 464|
|Gauteng||479 005||445 569||3 231||11 481|
|Limpopo||66 413||62 801||295||2 496|
|TOTAL||1 704 058||1 587 015||20 597||57 183|
As always, in order to stay up to date with the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa and abroad, we advise the following materials and platforms:
- Dr Zweli Mkhize on Twitter
- COVID-19 Connect on WhatsApp – add 0600 123 456 as a contact and say “Hi”.
- World Health Organisation
- SA Coronavirus website
- SA Government
- SA Presidency
[Image – CC BY-ND 2.0 GovernmentZA on Flickr]