South Africa stops releasing daily Covid-19 statistics

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – South Africa says it has stopped issuing daily Covid-19 updates citing “reduced severity and transmissibility of the disease at the current moment.”

In June, South Africa repealed Covid-19 rules that made masks mandatory in indoor public spaces, limited the size of gatherings and imposed entry requirements at its borders.

Now, the Department of Health and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says it is stopping issuing daily Covid-19 statistics which tracked new infections, recoveries, deaths and hospital admissions.

The NICD said Covid-19 statistics would now be issued once a week, starting from August 1.

Officials hope the move will free up health workers who have been working on Covid-19 surveillance to return to their workplaces.

“The department, together with the NICD, has reassessed the existing reporting structures and agreed that it is justifiable to allow the majority of members of the reporting structures return to their permanent jobs on a full-time basis,” the NICD explained.

“The department would like to thank all individuals, teams and stakeholders whose sacrifices, commitment and contributions made it possible for the government to keep the public up to date with crucial information required to enable people and organisations to make informed health and safety decisions.”

South Africa has recorded the most coronavirus cases and deaths on the African continent, with over 4 million confirmed infections and more than 102,000 deaths.

The NICD stressed that this does not mean the pandemic is over and that the vaccination services will remain accessible at designated sites, including at some public health facilities.

“Until such time that the World Health Organisation announce that the pandemic is over, we urge people to vaccinate and continue to do everything possible to keep themselves safe against the current and future variants of concern,” it said.

By contrast, Zimbabwe still requires citizens to wear masks and unvaccinated international travellers must take a Covid-19 test before arrival or departure.

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