South Africa
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Grim toll of Covid-19 mounts as SA is set to breach 90,000 deaths soon

There are currently 1,539 people hospitalised for Covid-19 in government and private facilities in Gauteng. File photo.

There are currently 1,539 people hospitalised for Covid-19 in government and private facilities in Gauteng. File photo.
Image: Emile Bosch

The human cost of Covid-19 is mounting, with SA set to soon breach 90,000 deaths.

This as another fatality was reported by the health department on Sunday, bringing the cumulative total to 89,966 since the pandemic reached SA in March last year.

The first coronavirus-related fatality in the country was recorded on March 27 2020, when a 48-year-old woman from the Western Cape succumbed to the coronavirus.

Within days, the death toll had climbed to five and by the end of April last year, 103 South Africans had died, among them casualties of the country's first outbreak at Durban's St Augustine's Hospital.

The threshold of 80,000 deaths from Covid-19 related complications was breached in SA three months ago.

Gauteng is leading the current spike in infections, driven by the Omicron variant, with the government and the private sector appealing to those still unvaccinated to get the jab to curb its further spread.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said on Sunday evening that 11,125 new cases were recorded in the latest 24-hour reporting cycle. This increase represents a 23.8% positivity rate.

The majority of new cases are from Gauteng (71%), followed by the Western Cape (7%). KwaZulu-Natal accounted for 6% and the North West for 4%. Mpumalanga and Limpopo accounted for 3% each and the Free State and Eastern Cape for 2% each.

On Saturday, 16,366 new Covid-19 cases were identified.

The Gauteng health department said earlier on Sunday that the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases to date in the province as at Saturday was 984,479 with 914,752 recoveries and 19,718 deaths.

There were 1,539 people in hospital in government and private facilities in the province.

So far, 7.1-million vaccinations have been administered in Gauteng. However, the number of individuals fully vaccinated is only sitting at 3.8-million.

“All people 12 years and older are encouraged to visit their nearest vaccination site to receive the jab,” the provincial health department's spokesperson Kwara Kekana said.

If 70% or more of the adult population is vaccinated, “we can minimise the impact of the fourth wave,” said Kekana. “This will also help us return to the things we love such as attending sporting, cultural, religious and entertainment events of our choice safely.”

All Gauteng sites, both private and public, accept walk-ins whether people are registered on the electronic vaccination portal or not.