South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday that the nation will move from coronavirus alert level three to one in light of the dip in daily new infections.
Good news for South Africa’s strained health system following the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The good news is that South Africa is back to its pre-B.1.351 baseline in covid cases. There's no proof this variant is more infectious. Its immune evasion is enough to explain how it took off. And the descent occurred without vaccines. pic.twitter.com/koLJn0iAFr
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) February 21, 2021
The President addressed the nation:
“New infections, admissions to hospitals and deaths have fallen significantly and continue to decline steadily. In the week that has just passed, the country recorded just under 10,000 new infections. A month ago, in the last week of January, the country recorded over 40,000 new cases. And a month before that, in the last week of December, the country recorded close on to 90,000 new cases.”
COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign
The Head of State added that the country had secured a further 11 million vaccines from Johnson & Johnson — which is expected to provide 57-85% efficacy against mild to severe disease caused by the more contagious coronavirus strain present in the country.
A swift switch from the previously acquired one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine which provided only 22% protection against mild to moderate disease caused by the COVID-19 variant now dominant in South Africa.
Johnson & Johnson said that in South Africa, their one dose covid vaccine reduced severe or critical Covid-19 by 81.7% starting 28 days after vaccination.
The company stated the vaccine efficacy was not affected by the high prevalence of another variant in Brazil.
— Coronavirus good news (@Coronavirusgoo1) February 24, 2021
As part of the rollout, over 67,000 frontline healthcare workers have been vaccinated over the last ten days — with the number of vaccination sites available in the country expanding from 17 to 49.
South Africa is the country hardest hit by the pandemic in all of Africa, with a cumulative total of more than 1.5 million confirmed cases and nearly 50,000 deaths.