IN PICTURES | SA bids farewell to victims of Covid-19 by candle light
As SA recorded a new daily high of confirmed coronavirus cases on New Year's Eve, President Cyril Ramaphosa led a candle-lighting ceremony in Cape Town to commemorate those who have lost their lives to the virus.
Senior government officials and health workers followed suit with candle-lighting ceremonies observed across the country to honour front-line workers and South Africans who succumbed to the infectious disease.
SA confirmed 18,000 new cases of the coronavirus recorded over 24 hours on Thursday evening, bringing the national total of infections to 1,057,161 and the death toll to 28,469. The virus was first recorded in SA in March 2020.
Ramaphosa held the commemorative ceremony at Khayelitsha District Hospital, joined by Western Cape premier Alan Winde, religious leaders and medical staff, during an inspection to observe the effects of the alcohol ban on the hospital's trauma unit.
“Tonight you hold the candle of Florence Nightingale and you have always lit the way forward, you have always shown the way and we thank you for that ... You give hope, you give life and you also give direction,” he told health-care workers.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, joined by KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala and provincial health MEC Nomagugu Simelane Zulu, held a separate candle-lighting ceremony at King Edward Hospital in Durban.
“We are here to remember our mothers, our fathers, our sisters, our brothers, our friends, our colleagues and our loved ones who have been so cruelly taken away from us by Covid-19,” said Mkhize.
“As we light the candle, let it shine warm with hope, love and compassion for our fellow South Africans for a prosperous 2021 and a future where we can look back and say we defeated Covid-19 together, because we were in it together,” he said.
“Let us honour those who succumbed to Covid-19 by getting better at protecting one another,” he added.