Fri. Jan 22nd, 2021

New Year’s Day sees 16 726 new cases of Covid-19, 418 deaths as Ramaphosa honours frontline staff

The grim stats come as President Cyril Ramaphosa said government is making all efforts to secure a COVID-19 vaccine, but at an appropriate time.

new years day sees 16 726 new cases of covid 19 418 deaths as ramaphosa honours frontline staff - New Year’s Day sees 16 726 new cases of Covid-19, 418 deaths as Ramaphosa honours frontline staff

The President gave the assurances during a special ceremony at the Khayelitsha District Hospital on New Year’s eve where he lauded healthcare and other frontline workers for their efforts in fighting the deadly pandemic.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said Friday that South Africa recorded 16 726 new cases and 418 more Covid-19 related deaths.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases in the country is now sitting at 1 073 887 and the total death toll stands at 28 887.

South Africa currently has the 17th most confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, figures from John Hopkins University shows.

Vaccine? At an appropriate time, says Ramaphosa

Ramaphosa’s administration is coming increasingly under fire for what critics say is its delay in procuring the vaccine while other developing countries are already rolling out a vaccination programme.

Opposition parties are pressing government to cancel the R10 billion bailout to SAA, and use the money to secure the COVID-19 vaccine instead.

Shabir Madhi, Professor of Vaccinology at Wits University, also cast doubt over the government’s ability to roll out a vaccine programme. 

The Wits academic offered a rather glum forecast for the year ahead, after claiming that South Africa ‘is in a difficult position‘ when it comes to securing vaccines for domestic use in 2021.

But the President is calling for patience.

“Yes, the vaccine will come, we’re making all efforts and I spent the better part of today so that we can save the lives of our people.”

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Frontline workers: We salute you

President Ramaphosa chose one of the country’s COVID-19 hotspots to salute frontline workers for their herculean efforts in fighting Covid-19.

It was a gesture of thanks from the President at the end of 2020 which he described as a “year from hell.”

Ramaphosa acknowledged that his government had failed health workers at times from delays in the provision of adequate PPEs to insufficient recognition for those who saved lives and risked exposure themselves.

He promised that government will do better to protect healthcare workers while honouring the 436 such staff who’ve died of COVID-19.

“We’re in a dark valley of coronavirus destructions.”

But Ramaphosa said the doctors, nurses and other staff working round the clock represented the nation’s best hope.

“You have given life to many of our people, you have saved lives and tonight we honour you, we want to respect you.”

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