SA’s one year of Covid-19 pandemic

SA’s one year of Covid-19 pandemic

This week marked a year since the first positive case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed on South African shores by the country’s health authorities.

A year on from the country’s first Covid-19 case, South Africa has recorded over 1.5 million Covid-19 cases and 50 566 deaths due to the virus. However, the country’s recoveries stand at 1 437 050, representing a recovery rate of 94,6%.

Upon its first detection in South Africa the virus forced the government to embark on a strict and hard level 5 lockdown which was followed by four other levels of the lockdown which were meant to help curb the spread of the virus but also had an adverse effect on an already battered economy.

In a country already suffering from widespread unemployment, the Covid-19 pandemic saw more than 2.2 million South Africans losing their jobs as the impact of the hard lockdown took its toll on businesses throughout the country.

This astronomical number of people losing their jobs meant that a total of over 11 million South Africans were now unemployed bringing the country’s unemployment rate to well over 30.2%.

In November and December as the country was starting to enjoy a semblance of normality under level one of the lockdown a new variant of the coronavirus was discovered in South Africa, which forced the national coronavirus command council to place the country under an adjusted level 3 lockdown.

The new 501Y.V2 variant sparked a second wave that also left a trail of devastation throughout the country.

However Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande gave an update on the new variant this week following the results of the latest scientific results of the variant.

“Those who were infected in the second wave, which was dominated by what we’ve now been referring to as the new variant 501Y.V2, have protection from past and current circulating variants,” Nzimande said.

In February, the country received its first vaccines with a batch of over 1 million doses of the Astrazeneca vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India, however the vaccines were found to have a low efficacy and their rollout was suspended.

This week the parliamentary portfolio committee on health was told by the Department of Health that the vaccine would be sold to the African Union at the same cost that South Africa bought the vaccines from the Serum Institute of India.

However, members of the portfolio committee raised unhappiness over the Johnson & Johnson vaccines which arrived in the country last month, saying that the department had misled South Africans into believing the vaccine was a full vaccine rollout instead of the clinical trial that it is.

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