The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has announced that South Africa has officially exited the third wave of Covid-19 infections.
This, as the national seven-day moving average of daily case numbers, positivity rate and testing rate continue to decrease in all provinces. The current positivity rate currently stands at 3.8%.
On Monday, South Africa recorded 578 new Covid-19 infections. Kwa-Zulu Natal recorded the majority of the cases as 126 people are reported to have contracted the virus. The death toll in the country increased to 87 216 as an additional 164 patients succumbed to the virus on Monday.
The Head of the Division in Public Health Surveillance and Response at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), Dr Michelle Groome says the exit from the third wave provides the country with an opportunity to increase its Covid-19 vaccination drive. She says we will be able to see the impact of Covid-19 vaccination on severe disease, hospitalisation and death during the next wave of infections.
More than 21% of the South African adult population have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The country has administered just under 17 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Groome says the vaccination rate does not mean we can become complacent. She has urged members of the public to adhere to non-pharmaceutical messures to prevent infection. This includes mask-wearing, hand-washing and social distancing.
She explained the delta variant is still the dominant variant in the country as it accounted for more than 96% of infections. The c.1.2 variant is still being monitored to determine if it is more transmissible and whether it would evade the immune system.
She said, “thus far the c.1.2 has not increased in proportion over the months as delta did and we're still busy doing some of the tests in terms of transmissibility and to see whether it would evade the immune system. But at this stage, it looks like it should be similar at least or somewhere between beta and delta”.