Covid-19 weekly round-up: SA sees overall increase of 22% new cases

By Kelly Jane Turner Time of article published Jun 7, 2021

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South Africa has recorded over 5 000 new Covid-19 cases for the fifth day in a row.

In the past week, 48% of new cases were recorded in Gauteng, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

The country has seen an overall increase of 22% of new Covid-19 cases and the total number of cases is nearing 1.7 million.

Senior researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Ridhwaan Suliman, says the rising number of cases were following the same upward trajectory as the country’s second wave several months ago.

He compared the waves in an overlaying graph and says there are similarities.

The country has vaccinated more than 1.3 million people in total, with over 895 000 elderly people who have received their first shot of the Pfizer vaccine.

Study could justify adults with HIV being prioritised for Covid-19 vaccine

A team of South African scientists have found that those living with HIV and Aids could be at a greater risk of Covid-19 infection and have a longer recovery period.

In the study, they said that their findings could be a justification for those with HIV to be prioritised for a Covid-19 vaccine.

Professor Alex Sigal, an Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) faculty member and associate professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said the study aimed to understand the effects of HIV on people with Covid-19.

He said that people with HIV could also deal well with Covid-19. However, the exceptions are those with advanced HIV where it has been uncontrolled for a long time.

In cases where antiretrovirals are not taken properly, the body’s T cells could begin to deplete. These cells are an important line of defence against Covid-19.

Authors in the study said evidence showed that HIV was associated with an increased risk of more severe disease and death from Covid-19.

Regulations may change ahead of local government elections

Covid-19 regulations may need to be changed to accommodate the local government elections in October.

This is according to Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who said the Covid-19 situation would need to be assessed again closer to the elections.

She said the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was also considering the introduction of an online platform to enable the registration of eligible voters.

The EFF has called for the postponement of the elections and said it wants the local government polls to be synchronised with the provincial and national elections in 2024.

However, other parties, including the DA, want the local government elections to continue as scheduled.

Dlamini-Zuma said that government had gazetted a number of regulations to limit the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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