SA is on its way towards the end of the third wave of Covid-19 infections, but that doesn't mean there is room for complacency.
That was the message from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Wednesday as it released the country's latest coronavirus statistics.
The institute said there were 7,338 new Covid-19 cases and 253 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of infections to 2,836,773 and fatalities to 84,152 to date.
NICD acting executive director Prof Adrian Puren said there was good news as the country battled a devastating third wave.
“Though the total number of cases today is higher than yesterday (5,372) and higher than the average number of new cases per day over the previous seven days, the number of new cases and positivity rate have decreased nationally compared to last week,” he said, adding that all nine provinces were shows a drop in daily new cases.
“Gauteng and Limpopo have already met the end-of-wave threshold criteria,” he said.
The number of hospitalisations and deaths have also decreased compared to last week, the NICD said.
But Dr Michelle Groome, head of the public health surveillance and response division at the NICD, said that now was “not the time for complacency” despite the good news. Mask-wearing, hand hygiene and social distancing were still vital, she said.
In terms of the new cases, KwaZulu-Natal remained the country's virus epicentre with 1,923 confirmed cases in the past day. The Western Cape recorded 1,591 cases and the Eastern Cape 1,251.
The NICD added that there had been an increase of 360 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours, taking the number of people now admitted for treatment to 11,208.
According to SA's latest vaccine statistics, there were 217,613 jabs administered in the past day, up to 5pm on Wednesday. This means that more than 14-million doses have been administered in total - and with just fewer than 6.9-million people fully vaccinated with their the one-dose J&J or second of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine.
“We all have a part to play by getting vaccinated and encouraging our family, friends and colleagues to do the same,” said Groome.