The number of South African daily coronavirus cases surged to a record as a third wave of infections rips through the nation.
New cases rose by 24,270 on Friday, data from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases showed. That’s the highest number of daily infections yet and surpasses the previous record of 21,980 cases set during the peak of the second wave on 8 January.
South Africa’s official death toll of 61,332 and 2.02 million cases make it the country hardest hit by the virus in Africa, although testing and accurate recording of the causes of death is weak across much of the continent.
A number of African nations, including Namibia, are in the grip of a third wave of coronavirus infections and vaccine rollouts are slow.
The record number comes almost a week after President Cyril Ramaphosa placed the country in the strictest form of lockdown since May 2020 as the nation grapples with a surge in infections driven by the delta variant.
Measures now include an extended curfew, a ban on the sale of alcohol and limits on travel to and from the Gauteng province, the nation’s commercial hub that has been hardest hit by the latest rise in cases.
The country started the main part of its vaccine rollout in May with only 3.29 million vaccinations administered to a population of about 60 million so far.
#COVID19 UPDATE: A total of 88,738 tests were conducted in the last 24 hrs, with 24,270 new cases, which represents a 27.4% positivity rate. A further 303 #COVID19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 61,332 to date. Read more: https://t.co/GL28yIRX09 pic.twitter.com/Pw9q30WJvD
— NICD (@nicd_sa) July 2, 2021
South Africa authorized use of the CoronaVac vaccine manufactured by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd on condition that the importer Curanto Pharma submits final results of ongoing clinical studies, the regulator said.