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

South Africa has recorded 4,146 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (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 positivity rate of 18.3%.

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

The country also reported four deaths that occurred in the past 24 to 48 hours. This brings the total number of deaths to 100,355 so far.

24,423,181 tests were carried out in the public and private sectors.

There has been an increase of 64 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.

Taiwan’s daily cases top 10,000 after Covid zero-zero

Taiwan recorded more than 10,000 new infections for the first time on Thursday following the government’s decision to move away from its zero-Covid strategy and start living with the coronavirus.

The change makes China – and its financial center Hong Kong – the only major economy still sticking to the zero-tolerance strategy even as Omicron breaks through those defenses and imposes painful lockdowns.

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

Taiwan has largely closed its borders and implemented strict quarantine rules throughout the pandemic, keeping infection numbers low.

An outbreak last year prompted the temporary reimposition of economically painful social distancing measures until it was brought under control.

Infections are rising again, but the island’s leaders have signaled they will follow other former zero Covid economies like Singapore, Australia and New Zealand in opening up and accepting that cases will rise.

According to Taiwan’s health ministry, 99.7% of the 51,504 infections recorded since January 1 this year have been mild or asymptomatic – with seven Covid-19 deaths reported during this period.

“We are at a stage where cases (of infection) will definitely increase rapidly, which is inevitable,” Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told reporters.

Chen warned that the island’s daily infection cases could more than double to 37,000 within a week.

About 80% of Taiwan’s population is double-vaccinated, while 58% have taken a third booster.

However, vaccine uptake among the elderly, the most at-risk demographic, remains a vulnerability for Taiwan with only 59% of over-75s having received all three full shots.

In the capital Taipei this week, residents could be seen queuing outside pharmacies to buy test kits, which are now rationed by the government.

The government has launched a new plan to shorten home isolation of close contacts of Covid-19 cases to 3 days, from 10, if a rapid antigen test proves negative at the end of the isolation period .

It is also considering relaxing 10-day quarantine rules for foreign arrivals.

Since the start of the pandemic, Taiwan has reported 88,000 cases and 860 deaths.

Additional AFP reporting