NICD says SA is now in COVID third wave

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN – South Africa has technically entered the third wave of COVID-19.This after the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) recorded 9,149 new cases in the last 24-hour cycle.This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to over 1,722,000.The NICD on Thursday said coronavirus cases now exceeded the threshold as defined by the ministerial advisory committee.Gauteng is the biggest contributor, accounting for 61% of infections followed by the Western Cape with 10% and both the Free State and the North West with 6%.Earlier on Thursday, the Gauteng health department expressed concern over the alarming increase in the number of cases across the province, especially in the Johannesburg inner city region, Randburg, Bedfordview, Roodepoort, and Emfuleni.The department’s spokesperson Kwara Kekana said: “New cases continue to increase across the province. The department urges all people in the province to do their part to protect themselves and help contain the transmission of the virus. The province continues to monitor adherence to COVID-19 measures in communities, schools and other public spaces. The province is also intensifying its contact tracing efforts, especially the hot spot areas.”The Western Cape – meanwhile – maintains that residents can still help flatten the curve.This after the health department in the province also announced that the province had officially entered the COVID-19 third wave.The province now has close to 6,000 active cases and over 1,000 people are in hospital.At the same time, the Free State health department is concerned about the slow uptake of vaccines among elderly residents in the province.The province’s vaccination drive got off to a stuttering start with service delivery protests delaying it.Officials said they were now gathering speed and still hoped to vaccinate 288,000 people over the age of 60 by the end of July.To date, the Free State has vaccinated over 74,000 people and officials are confident they’ll reach their target by the end of next month.Since Monday, the health department has reported more than 4,000 vaccinations a day and they’ve increased those registered on the electronic vaccine database to more than 100,000.Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.