SA's Covid-19 cases now exceed 1.5 million
SA has recorded 1,500,677 cumulative cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize said in an update on Friday evening that the death toll in the country had climbed to 48,859.
There were 151 more Covid-19 related deaths reported in the past 24-hour cycle. The deaths according to province were: Eastern Cape (12), Free State (21), Gauteng (43), KwaZulu-Natal (40), Limpopo (one), Mpumalanga (eight), North West (zero), Northern Cape (zero) and Western Cape (26).
“Our recoveries now stand at 1,406,907, representing a recovery rate of 93,7%," said Mkhize.
“The cumulative total of tests conducted to date is 8,838,937 with 31,638 new tests recorded since the last report.
“The number of health-care workers vaccinated under the Sisonke Protocol is 6,524 as of 6pm on February 19.”
Reuters reported on Friday that two of SA government's top advisers on Covid-19 backed Pfizer's vaccine on Friday, despite a study earlier in the week showing that the dominant local coronavirus variant may reduce protective antibodies it triggers.
Prof Barry Schoub, chair of the ministerial advisory committee on vaccines, told Reuters the two-thirds reduction in antibodies mentioned in the study “means there is quite a significant remnant neutralising potency ... we feel Pfizer is still a very good vaccine in our context”.