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A total of 16 445 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours with 510 new cases confirmed, which represents a 3% positivity rate.

Meanwhile, a further 55 COVID-19 related fatalities have been reported, bringing the death toll to 52 251.

According to Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, the North West recorded the highest number of deaths after 25 people succumbed to COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The province is followed by the Free State with 11 deaths, six in the Eastern Cape, five in KwaZulu-Natal and four in the Western Cape.

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

Also, the recovery rate now stands at 95% after 1 465 204 people beat COVID-19, while there are 21 506 patients who are currently infected.

The information is based on the 9 665 664 tests conducted since the outbreak.

In addition, the number of healthcare workers vaccinated as of 23 March is 194 257.

Globally, there have been 123 419 065 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 2 719 163 deaths reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Meanwhile, 397 950 709 vaccine doses have been administered as of 20 March 2021.

Global view

According to WHO, COVID-19 confirmed cases continued to rise for a fourth consecutive week, with just under 3.3 million new infections reported in the last week.

The number of new deaths reported “plateaued” after a six-week decrease, with just over 60 000 new fatalities reported.

The organisation said the peak in the number of new cases was reported in South-East Asia, Western Pacific, European and Eastern Mediterranean regions, which have been on an upward trajectory in recent weeks.

“Case incidence in the African region and the region of the Americas has remained stable in recent weeks, notwithstanding concerning trends observed in some countries within these regions.”

In addition, the European and Americas regions continue to account for nearly 80% of all the cases and deaths.

“The only WHO region to report a decline in new deaths this week was the Western Pacific, where deaths fell by nearly a third, compared to the previous week.”

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from Brazil (508 010 new cases, a 3% increase), the United States (374 369 new cases, 19% decrease), India (240 082 new cases, 62% increase), France (204 840 new cases, 27% increase), and Italy (154 493 new cases, similar to the previous week).

Variant 501Y.V2

The 501Y.V2 variant, first discovered in South Africa, has been reported in 11 additional countries since last week – totalling 75 countries across all six WHO regions.

“In several areas within the African region, variant 501Y.V2 has been reported to comprise a high proportion of sequenced samples, including over 90% of sequenced specimens in some settings,” the WHO said.


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