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South Africa has reported another 263 Coronavirus deaths and 999 new cases as the vaccination of healthcare workers topped 32 000 on Monday.

According to the latest data, the death toll now stands at 49 413, while the number of cumulative cases has increased to 1 505 586.

Of the latest fatalities, 60 are from KwaZulu-Natal, 55 from Limpopo, 51 from the Eastern Cape, 39 from Gauteng, 28 from the Western Cape, 27 from Free State and three from the Northern Cape.

“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.

Meanwhile, the number of active cases has dropped to 36 714 from 41 872 that was reported on Sunday.

The hardest-hit province continues to be KwaZulu-Natal with 10 633 patients who are currently infected.

The province is followed by Free State with 6 775 active cases, 6 588 in the Western Cape, 3 733 in Gauteng, 3 502 in the North West, 2 771 in the Northern Cape, 1 163 in Mpumalanga, 1 136 in Limpopo and 413 in the Eastern Cape.

“Our recoveries now stand at 1 419 459, representing a recovery rate of 94%,” Mkhize added.

The information is based on the 8 932 950 tests of which 25 093 were performed in the last 24 hours.

The number of frontline workers vaccinated is 32 315 as of 23 February, the Minister said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is reporting 111 419 939 confirmed global cases of COVID-19, including 2 470 772 deaths.

Global view

According to the WHO, the global new cases reported continue to fall for the sixth consecutive week, with 2.4 million new infections last week, an 11% decline compared to the previous week.

In addition, new fatalities are following a similar downward trajectory.

“The number of new deaths also continued to fall for the past three weeks, with nearly 66 000 new deaths reported last week, a 20% decline as compared to the previous week.”

According to the agency, four out of six WHO regions reported declines in new cases, with only South-East Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean regions showing a small 2% and 7% increase, respectively.

“The Americas continue to see the greatest drops in absolute numbers of cases. Meanwhile, the number of new deaths declined in all regions apart from the Western Pacific (6% increase).”

In the past week, the five countries reporting the highest number of new cases continue to be the United States (480 467 new cases, a 29% decrease), Brazil (316 221 new cases, a 1% decrease), France (131 179 new cases, a 3% increase), Russia (92 843 new cases, an 11% decrease), and India (86 711 new cases, a 10% increase).

Variant 501Y.V2

According to the WHO, 501Y.V2, which was first discovered in South Africa, has been reported from five additional countries.

This pushes the number to 51 countries across all six WHO regions.

“Community transmission of 501Y.V2 has been reported in 13 countries across four WHO regions, noting the transmission classification is currently incomplete for 21 (41%) countries reporting this variant. In several areas within the African region, variant 501Y.V2 has been reported to comprise a high proportion of sequenced samples.”

The WHO said recent preliminary evidence suggests that variant 501Y.V2 may compromise immunity indicating a potential increased risk of reinfection.

“There is now growing evidence that the mutations present in this variant may help the virus evade immune system responses triggered by previous infections of SARS-CoV-2 or by vaccines.”

According to studies, there are reports of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection with the 501Y.V2 variant months after recovering from a first episode of COVID-19 with a more severe clinical presentation, the WHO said.


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