Daily Covid-19 reporting, which has been in place since 2020 by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), has officially come to an end.
The Health Department made the announcement on Sunday.
Health Department spokesperson, Foster Mohale, said the reporting was stopped due to the reduced severity and transmissibility of the disease, coupled with declining Covid-19 case numbers.
“The department, together with the NICD, have reassessed the existing reporting structures, and agreed that it is justifiable to allow the majority of members of the reporting structures to return to their permanent jobs on a full-time basis.”
“Thus, this means the department will, with effect from 1 August 2022, publish the Covid-19 surveillance data on a weekly basis, but continue to closely monitor the situation,” Mohale said.
Mohale said while the reporting has stopped, it does not mean the pandemic is over.
He said the vaccination services will remain accessible at designated sites, including at some public health facilities.
“Thus, until such time that the World Health Organization (WHO) announce that the pandemic is over, we urge people to vaccinate and continue to do everything possible to keep themselves safe against the current and future variants of concern.”
Meanwhile, the NICD says it supports the decision and concurs that the current phase of the pandemic no longer requires daily COVID-19 updates.
“The public should be mindful that disease trends and weekly surveillance data largely inform health policies. Therefore, the NICD remains committed to its surveillance activities and will continue reporting COVID-19 surveillance data as per normal, with the data being published in the existing weekly surveillance reports.”
In April, President Cyril President Cyril announced the end of the national State of Disaster in address to the nation.
During the live proceedings, the President said the country’s State of Disaster was “necessary” to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“While the pandemic is not over and while the virus remains among us, these conditions no longer require that we remain in a National State of Disaster.”
Ramaphosa indicated that the pandemic will be managed in terms of the National Health Act, hence the decision to end the State of Disaster.