KZN new COVID-19 infections remain low

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says the provincial government is pleased and relieved that the rate of new infections in the province remains relatively low, even though it fluctuates up and down.

“The number of confirmed COVID–19 cases currently stand at 515 892. Sadly, 14 770 people have lost their lives due to the pandemic. May their souls rest in peace,” Zikalala said.

Speaking during a virtual media briefing on recent developments in the province on Monday, Zikalala said in the last 24-hour reporting period, the province has reported 64 new cases.

“Prior to that, on Saturday 06 November 2021, we had 48 new cases. On Friday, we had 63 new cases; and on Thursday, we had 41 new cases,” Zikalala said.

Over 3 million people vaccinated

However, the Premier raised concern on the rate of vaccinations in the province, with 3 337 million people having been vaccinated.

“This leaves us with a total of 4 791 million people to vaccinate by the end of this year, which is no small job. While we are pleased that 955 048 people from the 60+ age group have been vaccinated, we are concerned by the relatively lower numbers within the 35 – 49 and 18 – 34 age groups,

“Within these two age groups, we have recorded 463 466 vaccinations out of 731 030 people who are registered; and 568 816 vaccinations out of 651 584 people who are registered, respectively,” the Premier said.

Strategy to increase vaccination numbers

In a bid to increase vaccination statistics, Zikalala said the provincial government has enhanced its weekly vaccination programme through the Premier’s Office intervention, through the Siyagoma Waya Waya model, which has intensified weekend vaccination.

“This is done in conjunction with the Vooma Vaccination Weekends, as championed by President Cryril Ramaphosa and Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, in order to maximise public awareness and reach.

“Utilisation of dashboard to locate areas with low vaccination numbers and directing our interventions in those areas, vaccination in retail stores, collaborating with stakeholders in Sukuma Sakhe and utilisation of foot soldiers to track the unvaccinated people,” Zikalala said.

As part of the National Strategy, Zikalala said there are 100 grocery vouchers for over 60 on vaccination and Vooma weekend to enhance vaccination on weekends.

He however warned that “even the best strategy is as good as the support that it gets from all the people who need to get vaccinated, so that they can avoid severe illness from the virus.”

“We wish to re-iterate that, when you get vaccinated, you’re not doing it for the government or to satisfy travel requirements. You are doing it to, primarily, give your body the ability to successfully fight the virus in the likely event that you get infected.”

Warning against selling of vaccination certificates

Meanwhile, Zikalala has warned people against individuals who are reportedly selling vaccination certificates.

“Naturally, we find this extremely concerning as it defeats the very purpose behind the vaccination process. We therefore want to warn those individuals who are even thinking of engaging in this kind of behaviour which is grossly irresponsible and also criminal, that such actions are unlawful and will be prosecuted.

“We urge anyone with evidence of the sale of COVID–19 vaccines to contact law enforcement authorities, as well as the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health. We assure them that this information will be treated in the strictest confidence,” Zikalala said.

Source: South African Government News Agency