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



South Africa has identified 2,952 new cases of Covid-19, announced the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service.

This brings the total number of laboratory confirmed cases to 3,894,745. This increase represents a positivity rate of 16.8%.

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

The country also recorded 16 deaths and of these, 8 occurred in the last 24-48 hours. This brings the total casualties to 100,771 to date.

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

24,903,051 tests were conducted in both the public and private sectors.

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

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

Health Minister Olivier Veran announced last week that masks will no longer be mandatory on public transport and taxis, following the recent steep drop in Covid-19 cases.

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

France began loosening its strict rules on face masks in February after a winter surge in cases, but for weeks they were still in demand in the workplace or in schools until infections further declined.

Veran warned that the new measure didn’t mean the pandemic was over and insisted the mask remain recommended.

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

For entry into hospitals, masks are still required, in addition to the health pass proving vaccination against Covid-19.

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

And people with weak immune systems have expressed their concern.

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“I will continue to wear the mask and invite everyone to do it. We protect each other, we think of the immunosuppressed “, said the French epidemiologist Mahmoud Zureik.

France has recorded just over 147,000 deaths from Covid-19 since the outbreak began.

Elsewhere in Europe, Spain still requires masks to enter hospitals, nursing homes and on public transport, while in Belgium, masks are only needed on buses, trams and trains.

In Italy, masks remain mandatory in hospitals and on public transport, but also in cinemas, theaters and schools.

Further reporting by the AFP