There are currently 13,409 active cases of Covid-19 in South Africa, according to the NICD.
The country has identified 1,050 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to date to 3,990,057. Seven deaths have been reported, five of which occurred in the last 24-48 hours. This brings the total death toll to date to 101,704.
South Africa has officially lifted all Covid-19 containment rules in the country, including indoor and outdoor masks, restrictions on gatherings and border controls.
It happens after Minister of Health Joe Fahla overturned the rules by publishing a report in the Government Gazette.
Austria to waive mandatory Covid vaccinations
The Austrian government said on Thursday it would be phasing out the country’s controversial policy of mandatory coronavirus vaccination just months after it became law.
The measure, which was the first in the EU, went into effect in early February, with the first checks scheduled for mid-March, and those who refuse to get vaccinated face fines of up to 3,600 euros ($4,100).
However, the measure was suspended in March before any checks were made, with the government saying such a far-reaching measure could no longer be justified by the danger posed by the coronavirus.
Health Minister Johannes Rauch told a press conference that the measure was deeply divisive in the nation of nine million and said the element of coercion even kept some people from getting the vaccine.
“The mandate does not bring anyone in for vaccination,” he said.
The Omicron variant also “changed the rules,” Rauch added, as the surge caused by the variant tended to result in cases with milder symptoms.
The mandate extended to everyone over the age of 18, except pregnant women, those who had the virus less than 180 days ago, and those with medical exemptions.
August Voeginger, head of the ruling People’s Party (OeVP) parliamentary group, said at the same press conference that he expected the obligatory vaccination law to be lifted in the coming weeks.
Since it was first proposed last year as a way to boost vaccination rates in Austria, the prospect of mandatory vaccination has sparked frequent street protests that have drawn tens of thousands of people.
Current official figures show that only 62 percent of the population currently have a valid vaccination certificate, less than in many other Western European countries.
More than 18,700 people have died after contracting the virus in Austria.
Additional AFP reporting