As of Sunday, April 10, the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases detected in South Africa is 3,732,075 with 828 new cases identified, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.NICD) confirmed.
This represents a positive rate of 5.3%.
No new deaths related to Covid-19 have been reported in the past 24 hours – this leaves the total number of deaths at 100,096 to date.
There have been 13 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.
The total number of recoveries stands at 3,619,311. South Africa currently has 12,668 active cases.
A total of 24,060,151 tests have been conducted so far in both the public and private sectors.
Most of the new cases today come from Gauteng (45%), followed by Western Cape (25%).
Kwa Zulu Natal accounted for 21%; Eastern Cape accounted for 4% and Mpumalanga accounted for 3%.
Free State, Limpopo, and North West each accounted for 1%, and Northern Cape accounted for less than 1% of new cases today.
China’s healthcare system faces a number of challenges as Omicron strikes
China is battling its biggest spike in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, with millions of people in isolation and the health system feeling the pressure.
One of the latest countries to stick to a zero-Covid strategy, China aims to eradicate any infection with strict blockades and sending all cases to secure facilities.
This is putting a strain on China’s medical system already under pressure, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant moves rapidly through the population.
Here are some of China’s key challenges in the fight against Covid:
– Vaccination rates –
Beijing says more than 1.2 billion people in China had received two doses of a Covid vaccine by mid-March – nearly 90 percent of the population.
It has also launched a recall campaign, but more than half of the population has not yet received a third blow.
A major challenge is the protection of the elderly, with only about half of Chinese over the age of 80 vaccinated twice and less than a fifth having received a booster.
Among the over 60s, just over half received a third blow.
Officials have launched a new push to encourage older people to receive a third dose after Hong Kong hospitals are overwhelmed by a wave of severe cases, mostly unvaccinated elderly patients.
China is using home-grown vaccines and has not approved any foreign-made vaccines, but has given “conditional” approval to Pfizer’s Covid-19 drug, Paxlovid.
Chinese vaccines have shown a lower efficacy rate in studies than many foreign jabs.
However, several Chinese vaccine manufacturers recently received the green light for clinical trials on a domestically made Covid mRNA vaccine, the same technology as Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna shots.
– Elongated hospitals –
China’s healthcare system was understaffed and struggled to cope with its huge, aging population even before the pandemic.
According to the National Health Commission, China only has 2.9 general practitioners for every 10,000 people. Britain has about the same number for every 1,000 people.
Some Chinese regions are sadly lacking in resources.
In Jilin province, home to a recent Covid cluster, authorities said there were only 22,880 hospital beds for a population of 24 million.
Peking University researchers have warned that China could suffer a “colossal outbreak” that would quickly overwhelm its medical system if authorities relaxed restrictions to a level similar to that in Europe and the United States.
It would likely lead to hundreds of thousands of new cases per day, the researchers said.
– Urban-rural divide –
Despite huge reductions in rural poverty, significant differences in access to health care remain between rural and urban areas.
Much of China’s wealth, equipment and expertise is found in upscale cities where wealthier residents can choose from a range of hospitals, including international clinics.
According to a report by the National Health Commission last year, China had only 1.6 health workers for every 1,000 people in rural areas and only 1.5 hospital beds.
Although nearly 40 percent of the population lives in the countryside, rural China had a total of only 1.4 million hospital beds.
Rural Chinese who migrate to cities for work have also struggled to access health care in cities due to bureaucracy.
– Maintain ‘zero Covid’ –
Despite being the most developed city in China, Shanghai has entered a crisis as authorities scramble to find enough beds for people who test positive.
Authorities said 130,000 new beds are either ready or under construction in makeshift locations.
About 40,000 beds have been set up at the famous National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai.
But most of it is currently occupied by people with mild or no symptoms at all.
Meanwhile, Shanghai residents in solitary confinement have complained of a lack of access to non-Covid-related food and medicines.
“Draconian and heavy zero-Covid control measures” have overwhelmed the medical system, according to Yanzhong Huang, a senior researcher on global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
This is “a result that the zero-Covid strategy should avoid,” he told AFP.
Two thousand soldiers and 38 thousand health workers from all over the country were sent to Shanghai as reinforcements.
At least two asthma patients have died after they were reportedly refused medical services due to Covid rules.
As the pressure on the system increases, some close patient contacts can be quarantined at home, while rapid home test kits have been implemented for the first time.
Shanghai health commission head Wu Jinglei said this week that although the city had 50 percent more ambulances on the road than before the outbreak, it is still unable to handle all requests for medical assistance.
Further reporting by the AFP