Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on Friday said she was extremely worried about the number of COVID-19 hospitalisations, especially in Gauteng where over 7,000 patients were admitted to health facilities.
The country’s daily infection rate has now reached a new record high of 21584 cases. Sadly 382 more deaths have also been recorded over the past 24-hour reporting cycle.
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The minister said Gauteng remained the main concern with more than 12,000 daily new infections recorded over the latest cycle.
This province accounts for 60% of the current daily infection rate in the country followed by the Western Cape.
“The trends are clearly showing that other provinces are going to experience the same trend we’re seeing in Gauteng. Most notably in the Western Cape when we look at last night’s numbers and in the North West due to increasing numbers. But what worries us as well, is the positivity rate, if you look how Limpopo has almost 42% of the positivity rate,” she said.
At the same time, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority said even while it expedited processes to evaluate COVID-19 vaccines, it still followed strict guidelines.
The regulatory body said it was at an advanced stage of reviewing safety and efficacy data of the Sinovac coronavirus vaccine.
Experts are also reviewing applications for one of the Sinopharm vaccines as well as the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.
CEO Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela has, however, stressed the safety of South Africans was top priority.
“While we have drastically reduced our usual timeframes of registration of vaccines and in this case COVID-19 vaccines, we have not cut back on the checks required to ensure that all these products are safe and effective. We will not compromise on the safety of South Africans and we will not endanger the lives of those in South Africa,” she said.