As of Wednesday, 24 February 2021, the cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases is 1,507,448 with 1,862 new cases identified, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed.
110 more Covid-19 related deaths were reported, with 5 from Eastern Cape, 61 from Free State, 12 from Gauteng, 7 from Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN), 7 from Mpumalanga, 1 from Northern Cape and 17 from Western Cape.
This brings the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 49,523.
Recoveries now stand at 1,422,622 representing a recovery rate of 94%.
A total of 8,967,460 tests have been completed with 34,510 new tests conducted since the last report.
Meanwhile, the total number of vaccines that have been administered to date stands at 41,809.
As of today, the total number of confirmed #COVID19 cases is 1 507 448 the total number of deaths is 49 523, the total number of recoveries is 1 422 622 and the total number of vaccines administered is 41 809. pic.twitter.com/fSuGPvaBDT
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) February 24, 2021
These are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
J&J jab ‘highly effective’
The US Food and Drug Administration finds the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine is highly effective in preventing severe cases including newer variants.
Shots, masks for Americans
The White House virus response coordinator anticipates distributing at least three million Johnson & Johnson vaccines next week pending the jab’s emergency use authorisation and also plans to distribute 25 million masks starting in March.
First Covax shipment
Ghana receives the first shipment of vaccines from Covax, a global scheme led by the World Health Organization and the Gavi vaccine alliance among others to procure and distribute jabs for free to poorer countries.
France local lockdown
Greater Dunkirk in France’s north joins the French Riviera in locking down on weekends with residents’ outings severely restricted from Friday evenings through Monday mornings.
Unvaccinated singled out
Israel’s parliament passes a law allowing the government to share with other authorities the identities of people not vaccinated, raising privacy concerns for those opting out of the jabs.
Israel says it is sending a “limited quantity” of unused vaccines to several countries, including two — Honduras and the Czech Republic — that have announced plans to boost their diplomatic presence in Jerusalem. It is also sending excess stock to the Palestinians, following up on a previous, limited distribution.
No Kenyans at Kilimanjaro
Kenya’s athletes are banned from competing in Tanzania’s top marathon race this Saturday over concerns about the rampant spread of the virus in Tanzania, where the government has been criticised for downplaying the pandemic.
‘My health has improved’
A distressing video of Tanzania’s finance minister showed Philip Mpango coughing and gasping as he gave a press conference outside a hospital in the capital Dodoma after rumours that he had died of the virus.
“I came to the hospital with my oxygen cylinder,” Mpango said, his voice trembling, “but in the last three days I did not use it because my health has improved”.
Switzerland reopens shops, museums
Switzerland’s shops, museums and zoos can reopen from March 1 — the first steps out of restrictions and into what the government calls the “gradual normalisation of social and economic life”.
Ireland, Italy, Sweden extend restrictions
Ireland’s third lockdown will be extended by a month and Italy’s health minister says its citizens should also brace for another month of restrictions due to new strains.
Sweden announces restaurants will close by 8:30 pm and the number of people allowed in shops and gyms will be restricted.
2.4 million deaths
The virus has caused at least 2,486,116 deaths around the world since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources.
The US is the worst-affected country with 502,681 deaths, followed by Brazil with 248,529, Mexico with 181,809, India with 156,567 and Britain with 121,305.