Covid-19 update: Deaths edge closer to 100K mark as 1,558 new cases reported

As of Friday, 18 March, the cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases in South Africa is 3,702,042 with 1,558 new cases identified, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed.

This represents a 5.3% positivity rate.

39 Covid-19 related deaths – of which 6 occurred in the past 24 to 48 hours – was reported, bringing the total number of deaths to 99,868.

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There were 39 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.

The total number of recoveries stood at 3,587,145 with a recovery rate of 96,9%. The country currently has 15,029 active cases.

23,543,564 tests in total have been conducted to date in both public and private sectors.

The total number of vaccines administered in the country so far stands at 32,987,853 as of 18 March.

As of today the cumulative number of #COVID19 cases identified in SA is 3 702 042 with 1 558 new cases reported. Today 38 deaths have been reported bringing the total to 99 868 deaths. The cumulative number of recoveries now stand at 3 587 145 with a recovery rate of 96.9%— Department of Health (@HealthZA) March 18, 2022

Provincial breakdown

The majority of the new Covid-19 cases came from Gauteng (563), followed by Western Cape (439) and KwaZulu-Natal (281).

Free State (68) then follows, while Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape recorded 56 and 50 new cases respectively.

North West recorded 44 cases followed by Limpopo (44) and Northern Cape (15) had the lowest cases.

Global developments

 WHO sounds alarm

The World Health Organization voices alarm that registered Covid cases are once again rising globally, despite testing levels having dropped significantly.

After falling for weeks, reported Covid cases rose globally by eight percent last week, it says.

China Omicron outbreak spreads

China reports 3,290 new cases from an Omicron-led coronavirus outbreak that has put 30 million under lockdown and moves to free up hospital beds amid fears for its health system.

Hong Kong morgues overflow

Hong Kong’s morgues run out of space from a deadly Omicron surge, with bodies of coronavirus victims being carted into refrigerated shipping containers and the city’s remaining 300 coffins expected to be gone by the weekend.

IP rights breakthrough

The World Trade Organization chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala hails a breakthrough between the EU, the United States, India and South Africa on waiving intellectual property rights on Covid vaccines, but warns some of the details still need to be fleshed out.

Israel records new variant

Israel’s health ministry says it has recorded two cases of a new variant, but which officials say they are not unduly worried about.

The strain, combining two sub-variants of the Omicron version of the Covid-19 virus, was recorded during PCR tests on two passengers arriving at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport.

Second booster for US over 65s?

Pfizer and BioNTech announce they have asked the US drug regulator for emergency approval of a second booster shot of their Covid vaccine for people aged 65 and older.

Six million dead

Coronavirus has killed at least 6,050,440 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally based on official sources on Wednesday.

The US has recorded the most Covid deaths with 966,470, followed by Brazil on 655,585 and India with 516,072.

Taking into account excess mortality linked to Covid, the WHO estimates the true death toll could be two to three times higher.

Additional reporting by AFP