Cape Town – The number of new Covid-19 cases reported in South Africa continue to decline steadily with 13 973 reported on Saturday, down from the 14 880 new infections the previous day.
The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases in the country now stands at 1 325 659 and the death toll from the coronavirus at 36 851, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed on Saturday.
In total, Gauteng has had the highest number of positive Covid-19 cases since the start of the outbreak at 358 462, which accounts for 27 percent of the total.
At 20.9 percent KwaZulu-Natal has the second highest number of total cases and the Western Cape in third place at 19.3 percent.
Deaths and recoveries
Of the 384 Covid19 related deaths reported on Saturday, 125 were from KwaZulu-Natal, 95 from the Western Cape, 68 from Gauteng, 39 from the Eastern Cape, 26 from Limpopo, 12 from the Northern Cape and 7 from Mpumalanga.
In total, 1 083 978 people have recovered from the disease, representing a recovery rate of 81.7%.
KwaZulu-Natal has the highest number of active cases (62 478), while Gauteng has 47 598 and the Western Cape has 40 339.
The province with the lowest number of active Covid-19 cases is the Northern Cape with 4 333 cases.
To date, 7 558 774 tests have been conducted nationally, with 59 994 new tests conducted over the past 24 hours.
Pharmacies ready to roll out vaccine
On January 7, the national Department of Health outlined its strategic plan for the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out in South Africa which will be distributed in a phased approach with 1.25 million front line healthcare workers being the first to be offered the vaccine.
The second phase will include 16.6 million people consisting of essential workers and people at increased risk for complications from the Covid-19 infection. The third phase will include 22.5 million people over the age of 18.
The hope is that by vaccinating just over 40 million people or 67% of the population, that we will achieve herd immunity, which will end the pandemic.
A vaccination campaign of this proportion has never been attempted before and to execute this by the end of 2021 will require the combined resources of both the public and private health sectors.
There are nearly 3 500 pharmacies, more than 12 000 GP practices and about 4 500 registered nursing sisters in the private sector across South Africa. These healthcare professionals will have a particularly important role to play in the supply and administration of vaccines to the citizens of South Africa in each phase of the roll-out.
The Independent Community Pharmacy Association (ICPA) is already in discussions with the National Department of Health. “We are busy mapping all possible pharmacy coverage sites across South Africa to ensure accessible and equitable distribution of the vaccine to all eligible citizens,” said ICPA chairperson Kgabo Komape.
“Our association has delivered a detailed plan of the role our pharmacists and pharmacy nurses can provide to assist with Covid-19 vaccination including the distribution, storage, administration, recording, reporting and safe disposal of waste. Our members are willing and available to start vaccinating as soon as we receive vaccines”.
The ICPA provides independent community pharmacies with a collective strength and a coherent voice that is heard by government, medical schemes, pharmaceutical suppliers and the consumer.
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