Covid-19 update: South Africa reports 4,146 new cases

In South Africa, 4,146 new cases of Covid-19 have been identified in the past 24 hours, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (USA).NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, announced.

This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,780,444. This increase represents a positive outcome rate of 18.3%.

Today, the majority of new cases are in Gauteng (53%), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (23%). The Western Cape was 11%; The Free State accounted for 4%; The Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and the North West accounted for 2% each, respectively; and Limpopo and Northern Cape each accounted for 1% of today’s new cases, respectively.

The country also reported four deaths in the past 24 to 48 hours. This brings the total death toll to date to 100,355.

24,423,181 tests were conducted in both the public and private sectors.

Over the past 24 hours, the number of hospitalizations has increased by 64.

Taiwan’s daily cases top 10,000 since Covid zero

On Thursday, Taiwan recorded more than 10,000 new infections for the first time since the government’s decision to abandon its “zero covid” strategy and start living with the coronavirus.

This shift makes China and its financial hub Hong Kong the only major economy still pursuing a zero-tolerance strategy, even as Omicron breaks through those defenses and imposes painful lockdowns.

“We have 11,353 local infections, two deaths and 164 imported cases of Covid-19,” Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said at a press briefing this afternoon.

Taiwan has largely closed its borders and enforced strict quarantine rules throughout the pandemic, which has reduced the number of infections.

The outbreak last year prompted a temporary reintroduction of economically painful social distancing measures until it was brought under control.

Infections are on the rise again, but the island’s leaders have signaled they will follow the lead of other former zero-covid economies such as Singapore, Australia and New Zealand by opening up and accepting that cases will rise.

Of the 51,504 infections reported since January 1 this year, 99.7 percent of the 51,504 infections reported were mild or asymptomatic, with seven Covid-19 deaths recorded during that period, according to Taiwan’s health ministry.

“We are at a stage where cases (infections) are sure to grow rapidly, which is inevitable,” Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told reporters.

Chen warned that daily infections on the island could more than double to 37,000 in a week.

About 80 percent of Taiwan’s population has been vaccinated twice, and 58 percent received a third booster.

However, vaccine use among the elderly, the most demographically at risk, remains a vulnerability in Taiwan, with only 59 percent of those over 75 receiving the full three shots.

This week in the capital, Taipei, residents could be seen lining up outside pharmacies to buy testing kits that are currently being rationed by the government.

The government has launched a new plan to reduce home isolation for close contacts of Covid-19 patients from 10 days to 3 days if a rapid antigen test is negative at the end of the isolation period.

He is also considering relaxing the 10-day quarantine rules for international arrivals.

Taiwan has recorded 88,000 cases and 860 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Additional AFP reporting