GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - The Covid-19 situation in the Garden Route district is looking the best since the start of the pandemic, according to the head of Disaster Management, Gerhard Otto.
The number of recorded active cases in the district during the past week continued declining from 300 to 261 as at 29 March. Three Covid-19 deaths were reported.
"There is some concern about Oudtshoorn, but the figures are starting to drop there too," said Otto.
In Oudtshoorn the number of active cases decreased from 88 to 83 in the past week. In George, active cases dropped from 140 to 125.
Reproductive number increasing
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) this week said the Covid-19 reproductive number (R) has been gradually increasing through the beginning of level 1 lockdown in March. This is based on data collected from the beginning of the year up until 22 March.
In all provinces, R (the average number of secondary cases per infectious case in a population) was near to 1 at the end of the estimation period, except in the Northern Cape where R exceeded 1.
In the Western Cape, R has since 22 March increased to 1 for the province as a whole and just above 1 for the Cape Town Metro, according to a statement by Western Cape Premier Alan Winde on Monday 29 March.
The NICD warned that this indicates increasing transmission, that may in part be driven by the relaxation of controls that prevent the spread of Covid-19. The NICD urgently advised that the recommended measures to control the spread of Covid-19 must be consistently implemented.
31-m J&J and 20-m Pfizer vaccines for SA
During a visit to the Aspen Pharmacare manufacturing facility in Gqeberha on Monday, Ramaphosa said Johnson & Johnson has committed to produce 220 million vaccines for Africa. Of these, South Africa will receive 31 million. The vaccines will be delivered from April onwards.
Aspen Pharmacare has been collaborating with Johnson & Johnson since last year to establish the necessary capacity to manufacture the vaccines.
The J&J vaccine is being used in the Sisonke vaccination trial among the country's healthcare workers.
President Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address on Tuesday night also said South Africa is finalising an agreement to secure 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two doses.
Together with the J&J vaccines, the supply will be sufficient to vaccinate 41 million people, which should create herd immunity. He said phase 2 of the vaccine rollout will begin in May and will reach more than 16 million essential workers and people in vulnerable groups.
As at 29 March, the Western Cape has administered a total of 41 314 vaccines out of the 53 820 vaccines received to date as part of the Sisonke trial. Nationally 250 000 healthcare workers have been vaccinated.
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