SA records over 1,600 new COVID-19 cases, recovery rate stands at 95%

The health department has also recorded 1,637 new COVID-19 cases and 71 new COVID-19 related fatalities in the past 24-hour cycle.

FILE: A Doctors Without Border (MSF) nurse (C) performs a COVID-19 coronavirus test during a Ministry of Health screening and testing drive in the Wolhuter men's hostel in Jeppestown district of Johannesburg, on 14 May 2020. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The health department has reported the deaths of 71 more people due to COVID-19 related complications. This means, to date, 54, 066 people have succumbed to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.

The health department has also recorded 1,637 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24-hour cycle, which brought the known caseload to 1,572,985.

The recovery rate in South Africa still stood at 95%, which meant over 1,499,000 people have recuperated from the virus.

Earlier this week, renowned vaccinologist Shabir Madhi has urged government to speed up its mass inoculation programme.

Madhi said South Africa was among the top 10 to 15 countries with the highest mortality rate.

However, he does not think this was avoidable.

He said the country had performed reasonably well in response to the pandemic and would give it a score of 6 to 7 out of 10.

“I think it was always naïve of us to think we were going to contain the spread of the virus given our socio-economic conditions.”

However, he said where the country was falling short was in the actual rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

WATCH: Madhi: SA's COVID response was decent, but vaccine rollout a disaster

Meanwhile, cabinet welcomed a recommendation by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) to resume the use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The rollout to healthcare workers as part of the Sisonke Vaccination Programme was suspended due to fears over rare cases of blood clots in recipients in the US.

At a post-Cabinet meeting briefing on Thursday, acting minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the lifting of the suspension would be announced soon.

Ntshavheni said the latest development came as the country prepared to take delivery of one million more doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

She said the lifting of its rollout suspension would be officially announced by the Department of Health.

Additional reporting by Kaylynn Palm & Babalo Ndenze