South Africa continues to see a rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths as scientists warn of a fourth wave during the festive season.
On Thursday, the country reported 2,465 new cases of Covid-19, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2.952,500. This increase represents a 6.5% positivity rate.
The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (79%), followed by North West accounting for 5%. Western Cape accounted for 4%; KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo each accounted for 3% respectively; Mpumalanga accounted for 2%; and Eastern Cape, Free State and Northern Cape each accounted for 1% respectively of today’s new cases.
As per the National Department of Health, a further 114 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 89,771 to date, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, has announced.
19.318,050 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors.
There has been an increase of 98 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.
Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla on Thursday confirmed the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant, which has been detected in three countries, including South Africa.
Twenty-two cases of the new SARS-CoV-2 virus variant have been identified in South Africa, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).
During a media briefing on Thursday, Phaahla said the new variant, known as the B.1.1.529, has been driving the surge in Covid-19 cases across the country, especially in Gauteng.
“Members of the public may have noticed Covid-19 cases have been rising [in the past week or so]. The cases started gradually, but over the last four or five days there has been more of an exponential rise, particularly in Gauteng,” he said.
Additonal reporting by Molefe Seeletsa