Thursday, 25 November 2021

Pretoria: Gauteng recorded close to 2 000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the highest single-day jump since 13 August.

This as the province recorded 1 950 new cases.

On Wednesday, 1 018 infections were detected in the province after the province reported 605 cases on Tuesday.

Overall, the country logged 2 465 new infections, pushing the total number of known cases to 2 952 500, said the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

Data shows that the surge represented a 6.5% positivity rate.

This comes as Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, confirmed on Thursday that a new COVID-19 variant has been detected in South Africa.

According to the Minister, the new “heavily mutated” variant, B.1.1.529, may be the main driver of the recent cluster outbreaks in Gauteng.

The NICD said 22 positive cases of the new strain have been recorded in the country.

“It is not surprising that a new variant has been detected in South Africa,” said the NICD’s Acting Executive Director, Professor Adrian Puren.

He added: “Although the data are limited, our experts are working overtime with all the established surveillance systems to understand the new variant and what the potential implications could be. Developments are occurring at a rapid pace and the public has our assurance that we will keep them up to date”.

Detected cases and percent testing positive are both increasing rapidly, particularly in Gauteng, North West and Limpopo.

Meanwhile, a further 114 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 89 771.

In addition, 98 more patients are receiving hospital treatment for COVID-19, pushing the total to 2 172.

The NICD’s Head of the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response, Dr Michelle Groome, said the provincial health authorities remain on high alert and are prioritising the sequencing of COVID-19 positive samples.

She stressed that regardless of the emergence of new COVID-19 variants, the importance of non-pharmaceutical interventions remains unchanged and the public are urged to be responsible.

“This means that individuals should get vaccinated, wear masks, practice healthy hand hygiene, maintain social distancing, and gather in well-ventilated spaces.”

She believes that individual compliance to preventative measures can have a great collective impact in limiting the spread of the new variant.