Johannesburg – Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has confirmed 59 more deaths from Covid-19, bringing the death toll in South Africa to more than 54,511.
The total number of infections since the onset of the pandemic now exceeds 1.58 million, including 1,187 infections recorded in the past 24 hours. .
Mkhize also said more than 339,655 healthcare workers have now been vaccinated under the Sisonke protocol.
Under the Sisonke Protocol, the South African government administers vaccines to public and private sector health workers through an Early Access Study.
Recently, the South African Health Product Regulatory Authority approved the use of the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer coronavirus vaccines for emergency use.
On Sunday, more than 325,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine landed at OR Tambo International Airport.
Speaking on the Indian freighter, in which a sailor died and 14 other crew members tested positive for Covid-19, Mkhize reassured South Africans that the B.1.617 variant – which is ravaging India, had not yet been detected in South Africa.
“This has been a difficult area during the Covid-19 pandemic, which can often lead to exclusion, mistrust and sometimes even racist rhetoric.
“We share the concerns of our people but wish to reassure South Africans that we are a very capable nation that knows how to cope with the burden of a variant of worry.
“Our teams remain on alert to monitor, detect and contain the spread of Covid-19 in general, with increased awareness among travelers from countries where VOCs dominate.
“We confirm that the B.1.617 variant, which circulates widely in India, has not been detected, but genomics teams are working on some samples and we will need to allow the time needed to sequence before we get a response,” he said. he declared. .
Mkhize said the B.1.351 (or 501Y.V2) variant – called the SA variant – was the most dominant in the country.
He said one of the samples taken from a traveler from India was compliant with the 501Y.V2 variant.
“We remain mindful of the World Health Organization advice that all variants are handled the same when it comes to prevention by respecting IPNs, early detection, contact tracing and tracing, and implementing in quarantine or isolation.
“All of these are part of the regulations that govern the management of Covid-19 and it is through compliance with these regulations that we have detected and contained cases of Covid-19 at points of entry,” said Mkhize.
Mkhize said they were aware of three air travelers who had arrived on a flight from India, via Doha. He said one passenger was in isolation at a hospital, while two others were asymptomatic and were isolated in hotels.
Meanwhile, he said seven people who came into contact with members of the ship from India tested negative for Covid-19.
“As all members are asymptomatic, it was chosen to keep the entire crew on board under appropriate quarantine or isolation conditions.
“The vessel has been secured and is currently under strict security in its berth until the authorities decide to move it to the outside anchorage under strict security until the confinement period is successfully completed” , Mkhize said.
In another incident in Gqeberha, he said a ship that had arrived from Kenya and four crew members were tested sick on board.
“The next day, the ship’s captain reported an ill crew member, who was immediately transferred off the ship to a health facility.
“The sick crew member as well as 3 other crew members who were to leave by plane to their country of origin were immediately subjected to PCR tests on April 26, 2021.
“After testing positive for COVID-19, these crew members were then isolated in paid accommodation.
“Port Health, in collaboration with the National Port Authority of Transnet (TNPA), asked the shipping agency to conduct contact tracing and testing processes, with 20 crew members on board being tested PCR.
“Ten other crew members have been detected with COVID19 and are in isolation for 10 days at designated facilities. The other 10 members who tested negative will remain in quarantine on the ship, ”Mkhize said.
Mkhize said they were concerned about detecting positive cases at points of entry and that the government was addressing the matter urgently.
“We consulted with the Ministerial Advisory Committee as well as the genomics team to guide us on managing travelers at points of entry during these difficult times.
“The government will determine the next steps to be taken and announcements will be made on the status of the variants of concern in our context and what measures will be implemented to mitigate the importation of Covid-19 in general,” Mkhize said.
59 deaths from Covid-19 and 1,187 new infections for AS, as reassured by Mkhize on the variant prevalent in India
Source59 deaths from Covid-19 and 1,187 new infections for AS, as reassured by Mkhize on the variant prevalent in India