4,146 new cases reported in SA – Il Cittadino

South Africa has identified 4,146 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), announced a division of the National Health Laboratory Service.

This brings the total number of laboratory confirmed cases to 3,780,444. This increase represents a positivity rate of 18.3%.

Most of the new cases today come from Gauteng (53%), followed by Kwa-Zulu Natal (23%). Western Cape accounted for 11%; Free State accounted for 4%; Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and North West accounted for 2% each respectively; and Limpopo and Northern Cape respectively accounted for 1% of new cases today.

The country has also reported four deaths that occurred in the past 24 to 48 hours. This brings total casualties to 100,355 to date.

24,423,181 tests were conducted in both the public and private sectors.

In the last 24 hours, hospital admissions have increased by 64.

Taiwan’s daily cases exceed 10,000 after the Covid zero crossing

Taiwan first recorded more than 10,000 new infections on Thursday following the government’s decision to abandon its zero-Covid strategy and start living with the coronavirus.

The change leaves China – and its financial hub Hong Kong – as the only major economy still true to the zero tolerance strategy even as Omicron breaks these defenses and imposes painful blockades.

“We have 11,353 cases of local infection, two deaths and 164 imported Covid-19 cases,” Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said at an afternoon news conference.

Taiwan largely closed its borders and implemented strict quarantine rules during the pandemic, keeping infection numbers low.

An outbreak last year pushed the temporary stance of economically painful social distancing measures until it was brought under control.

Infections are once again on the rise, but island leaders have signaled that other former zero-Covid economies such as Singapore, Australia and New Zealand will follow by opening up and accepting that cases will increase.

According to the Taiwanese health ministry, 99.7% of the 51,504 infections recorded since January 1 this year have been mild or asymptomatic, with seven deaths from Covid-19 reported during that time.

“We are in a phase where cases (of infection) will increase rapidly, which is inevitable,” Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told reporters.

Chen warned that the island’s daily cases of infection could more than double to 37,000 in a week.

About 80% of the Taiwanese population has a dual vaccination, while 58% have taken a third booster.

However, vaccine adoption among the elderly, the most at-risk demographic, remains a vulnerability for Taiwan with only 59% of those over 75 having had all three jabs.

Across the capital Taipei this week, residents could be seen lining up outside pharmacies to buy test kits, which are now being rationed by the government.

The government has initiated a new plan to reduce home isolation for close contacts of Covid-19 cases to 3 days, compared to 10, if a rapid antigen test comes back negative at the end of the isolation period.

It is also considering easing the 10-day quarantine rules for foreign arrivals.

Since the start of the pandemic, Taiwan has reported 88,000 cases and 860 deaths.

Further reporting by the AFP