Covid-19 update: 2,952 new cases reported in SA

South Africa has identified 2,952 new cases of Covid-19, 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 3.894,745. This increase represents an 16.8% positivity rate.

The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (47%) followed by KwaZulu-Natal (18%). Western Cape accounted for 14%; Free State accounted for 7%; Eastern Cape and North West  each accounted for 4% respectively; Northern Cape accounted for 3%; Mpumalanga accounted for 2%, and Limpopo accounted for 1% of today’s cases. 

The country has also recorded 16 deaths, and of these, 8 occurred in the past 24 – 48 hours. This brings the total fatalities to 100,771 to date.

“Due to the ongoing audit exercise by the National Department of Health (NDoH), there may be a backlog of Covid-19 mortality cases reported,” said the NICD.

24.903,051 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors.

‘I feel free’: France lifts Covid-19 mask rule on public transport

Face masks are no longer required in metros, trains and planes in France from Monday, as French authorities lifted one of the last remaining health measures imposed since the pandemic began in 2020. 

Health minister Olivier Veran announced last week that masks would no longer be mandatory on public transport and in taxis, following the large drop in Covid-19 cases recently.

“I feel free. Breathing properly wasn’t that easy with masks,” said 26-year-old Parisian Jaceula Madimba in the metro on Monday morning. 

France began easing its strict face mask rules in February after a winter surge in cases, but for weeks they were still required at the workplace or in schools until infections declined further.

Veran cautioned that the new measure did not mean the pandemic was over, and insisted that the mask remained recommended. 

“I think wearing masks is still necessary just to be safe, for my friends and family,” said Aurelia Imbert, an engineer on her way to Czech Republic for work from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

Masks, as well as a health pass proving Covid-19 vaccination, are still required for entering hospitals.

The pandemic appears under control in France for now, but some experts have warned against writing it off to the history books, as a new variant may yet emerge. 

And people with weak immune systems have expressed their concern.