48 more people succumb to COVID-19 pushing overall toll to over 53,700

The department also reported 1,326 new infections that were also picked up in the last 24-hour cycle, pushing our known caseload to more than 1,565,000.

Open graves at a cemetery in Hebron, north of Pretoria, South Africa, ahead of the funeral of a person who died from COVID-19 complications. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG – The national health department has reported the deaths of 48 more people due to coronavirus related complications. This brought South Africa’s national COVID-19 death toll to 53,711.

The department also reported 1,326 new infections that were also picked up in the last 24-hour cycle, pushing our known caseload to more than 1,565,000.

Over 1,489,000 people have recuperated from the virus since the start of outbreak over a year ago – this translates to a recovery rate of 95%.

On the vaccination front, more than 292,000 health care workers have so far received the jab.

SAHPRA RECOMMENDS LIFTING OF J&J VACCINE SUSPENSION

In a statement on their website, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) said it recommends the lifting of the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination, provided some conditions are met.

The authority said, on Saturday, that it met with the Sisonke Phase 3B Implementation Study team and Janssen Pharmaceutica, with the focus on the safety data reported from the Sisonke study, following administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as the adverse events reported in the United States of America.

“Based on their review of the available data, Sahpra has recommended that the pause in the Sisonke study be lifted, provided that specific conditions are met. These conditions include, but are not limited to, strengthened screening and monitoring of participants who are at high risk of a blood clotting disorder. In addition, measures are to be implemented to ensure the safe management of any participants who develop vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (VITT). The participant information sheets and informed consent forms will be updated to include the newly identified adverse events,” read the statement.

Sahpra said participants in the Sisonke study would be informed about the possible risks of developing a blood clotting disorder after vaccination, and they would also be advised to seek immediate medical assistance if they develop early signs and symptoms associated with blood clots or low platelet counts.

WATCH: Why we suspended the J&J COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Additional reporting by Masechaba Sefularo

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