South Africa has identified 4,406 new cases of Covid-19, with 49% of these from Gauteng, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, has announced.
This brings the overall number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3.750, 830. The increase reflects a 15.8% increase in positivity rate.
The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (49%), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (22%). Western Cape accounted for 15% and Eastern Cape accounted for 5%. Free State, Mpumalanga and North West each accounted for 2% respectively; Limpopo and Northern Cape each accounted for 1% of today’s new cases respectively.
“The public should exercise caution in interpreting these data as there may be changes in test patterns. An early warning indicator, wastewater detection surveillance, shows an increase in Gauteng,” said NICD Executive Director, Prof Adrian Puren.
He said there was currently no evidence that the Omicron variant of concern is being displaced as the dominant circulating variant.
The country has also reported 65 fatalities, with 5 occurring during the last 24 – 48 hours. This puts the overall number of fatalities to 100,276.
24.262,108 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors.
There has been an increase of 66 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.
“There is evidence of small increases in Covid-19 hospitalisation in Gauteng, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal but we have seen no increases in Covid-19 hospital deaths,” said Dr Waasila Jassat, Lead of the DATCOV Covid-19 National Hospital Surveillance at the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response.
US government appeals court ruling lifting Covid-19 mask mandate
The United States government is appealing a court ruling that controversially lifted a federal mask mandate on public transport earlier this week, the Justice Department said Wednesday.
After the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the country’s top health body, assessed that masks remain “necessary to protect the public health, the Department has filed a notice of appeal,” spokesman Anthony Coley said.
A US federal judge on Monday struck down the Covid-19 mask mandate, stating that it exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority.
Policymakers in Washington had decided just the prior week to extend it through May 3.
Although the public has a “strong interest” in combating the spread of Covid, the mask mandate “exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority,” and it “failed to adequately explain its decisions,” US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of the Middle District of Florida said in her decision.
Multiple major airlines subsequently dropped mask requirements on domestic flights and some international flights, while ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft as well as passenger rail Amtrak additionally announced an end to mask mandates.
Additional reporting by AFP