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South Africa recorded 2 488 new COVID-19 cases, official data showed on Thursday, down from the 3 163 infections a day earlier.

The Health Department said the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa is now 1 484 900 as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address last night.

Meanwhile, there are 237 more COVID-19 fatalities, bringing the overall deaths to 47 382 since the outbreak.

Of the latest deaths, 82 are from Gauteng, 46 from the Eastern Cape, 36 from KwaZulu-Natal, 25 from Free State, 19 from Mpumalanga, 17 from the Western Cape and 12 from Limpopo.

“We convey our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the healthcare workers who treated the deceased patients,” said Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize.

In addition, the country has 59 538 active cases, with KwaZulu-Natal being home to the most people who are currently infected.

According to Mkhize, the province has 20 542 active cases, followed by Western Cape with 9 250, while Free State has 7 673, 6 990 in Gauteng and 5 217 in the North West.

“Our recoveries now stand at 1 377 980, representing a recovery rate of 92.8%,” the Minister added.

A total of 32 265 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 8 605 729.

Globally, there are 106 991 090 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 2 347 015 deaths, reported to the World Health Organisation.

During a hybrid joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces on Thursday, President Ramaphosa said beyond the statistics lies a human story of tragedy and pain.

“There is no family, no community, and no place of work that has not lost someone they knew, worked with, and loved.”

He also applauded the resilience of the hospital workers whose mission is to save lives, knowing that they themselves are at risk of infection.

“It is a wonderful account of the courage of the police officer, the soldier, the essential worker, the carer and all those on the frontline who have kept our country safe, our people fed and our economy going.”

He has called South Africa to continue with the spirit of resilience, which should drive everyone to build a new and equal economy and a better, more just society.

“The year ahead must be a time for change, for progress and for rebirth. It must be a year in which we rise.”

He also confirmed that the first batch of the in-demand Johnson & Johnson vaccines against COVID-19 will land in South Africa next week.

The President told Parliament that the first phase of the vaccination programme would go as planned and that healthcare workers would now get the Johnson & Johnson jab.

Government has secured nine million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, of which 80 000 doses will arrive in the country next week.

According to the President, about 500 000 vials of vaccines will follow in the next four weeks, while 12 million vaccine doses from the global COVAX facility and 20 million from Pfizer, will be delivered at the end of the first quarter.


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