2,650 new cases, seven more deaths reported

South Africa has identified 2,650 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, has announced.

This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3.798 413. This increase represents a 21% positivity rate, with the seven day average at 20.7%.

Covid-19 in South Africa

By province

The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (51%), followed by Kwa-Zulu Natal (23%). Western Cape accounted for 13%; Free State accounted for 5%; Mpumalanga accounted for 3%, Eastern Cape and North West each accounted for 2% respectively; Limpopo accounted for, and Northern Cape accounted for 1% respectively of today’s new cases.

The country has also reported seven deaths, and of these, five occurred in the past 24 – 48 hours. The total fatalities remain at 100,370 to date.

24,505,584 tests have been conducted in both the public and private sectors.

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There has been an increase of 32 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.

Shanghai Covid-19 crackdown

In the middle of the night, Shanghai resident Lucy said she and her neighbours were forced into buses and taken hundreds of kilometres away from the locked-down Chinese metropolis to a makeshift quarantine centre.

Most of Shanghai’s 25 million residents have been confined to their homes for weeks as the city battles a major Covid outbreak. Hundreds of thousands of virus-positive people have been taken to makeshift facilities as China does not allow them to quarantine at home.

But some residents who tested negative told AFP that they were also forced out of their homes and taken to camps outside the city, some hundreds of kilometres away.

“The police told us that there were too many positive cases in our compound and if we carried on living here, we’d all become infected,” Lucy told AFP, using only her first name for privacy reasons.

‘We had no choice’

She said the virus-negative group were sent to a quarantine site containing hundreds of single-room prefab cabins in neighbouring Anhui province, 400 kilometres away, and that it was not initially clear where they going.

Lucy added that she does not know when she can go home.

AFP spoke with other Shanghai residents who said healthy, virus-negative people in some housing compounds were sent to other provinces for quarantine.

One said his neighbours had protested and refused to join.

Another from the city’s Jing’an district told AFP she was taken, along with dozens of people from her residential compound, to a single-room quarantine centre in Anhui late one night. 

“We all received calls from the neighbourhood committee saying that since there are too many positives in our compound, the negatives need to be transferred to hotels for isolation,” that resident told AFP, preferring to stay anonymous. 

She said they “felt terrified” on seeing the temporary accommodation and had “lost trust in the Shanghai government.”

Extreme measures

Shanghai on Monday was under a patchwork of different restrictions as new virus cases dropped to around 7,000, with 32 dead.

City authorities have imposed a three-tiered system of “freedoms”, although stringent local enforcement still restricted the majority of residents to within compounds or neighbourhoods.

China’s relentless pursuit of a zero-Covid policy has left many Shanghai residents chafing under the tight curbs.

The Shanghai government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Additional reporting AFP