Experts have shared that South Africa has procured at least half of the vaccines needed to establish herd immunity. Meanwhile, the ANC has begged the public to take the virus seriously after the party lost member, Jackson Mthembu.
As the second wave surges on, South Africa reported 11 381 new cases as at 21 January 2021. In the last 24 hours, 647 people have succumbed to the deadly virus. The recovery rate stands at 85.7%.
1. Expert says South Africa has half the vaccines required for herd immunity
Professor Barry Schoub, chair of the Covid vaccine ministerial advisory committee, says that South Africa has procured at least half the vaccines required for herd immunity. This is a vital step to suppress the virus to the level of a common cold.
Speaking at a webinar on Thursday, Schoub said that the virus would not disappear completely.
The aim is to vaccinate 40 million people by the end of the year, an objective that Schoub described as a challenge.
"But I think we may well surprise ourselves."
2. ANC warns South Africans about seriousness of virus after Jackson Mthembu's passing
The ANC has pleaded with South Africans to take Covid-19 seriously following the death of a member and prominent minister, Jackson Mthembu. The Minister in the Presidency succumbed to Covid-19 related complications on Thursday morning, 21 January. Since then, the ruling party issued statements of condolences to the Mthembu family and words of caution to South Africans.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said the party is still trying to process Mthembu's death. She briefed the media at the ANC headquarters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg on Thursday.
“We hope that as we go on the next coming days we will find a way to heal ourselves, but to understand that the real issue here is to mind the period that we are in and Covid-19 is not playing with anybody.”
3. Private hospital group forced to open temporary facilities to handle infection surge
Netcare has opened temporary facilities in three provinces to deal with the surge of Covid-19 infections. The Sowetan reports that the group recovered just under 3 000 new Covid-19 patients in its hospitals across the country.
The new facilities can accommodate an additional 116 patients.
The new temporary units were put up at Montana Hospital in Pretoria, Ferncrest Hospital in Rustenburg and Pholoso Hospital in Polokwane.
4. Kenya detects SA Covid-19 variant
Kenya has recorded the 501.V2 strain, also known as the South African Covid-19 variant. According to the Kenyan health ministry, two men have tested positive for a coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa.
Both cases were asymptomatic and involved foreigners who had since returned home. No further information was given on the nationalities of those infected.
ENCA reported that Kenya took quick measures to contain the virus when it was first detected in March, imposing a strict curfew, like in South Africa.
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