Covid-19 dashboard downscale begins

Because of the reduced severity and transmissibility of Covid-19, South Africa’s daily dashboard displaying data on new recorded infections, deaths and the positivity rate will only be updated once a week, as of today, 1 August.  

Foster Mohale, communications director at the national health department, told the Mail & Guardian a report on Covid-19 surveillance data would be published midweek — either on Wednesdays or Thursdays.  

The daily dashboard was established at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and has kept the country updated on trends and developments regarding Covid-19.

At the height of the pandemic, the dashboard painted a grim picture as the virus spread and took many lives but, in recent months, data has pointed to a sharp tapering off of infections and fatalities. 

In a joint statement, the department of health and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) announced after reassessing the current reporting structures, “the reduced severity and transmissibility of the disease at the current moment, coupled with declining Covid-19 case numbers” justified the change in reporting structures.

Mohale said the department would continue to “closely monitor” the situation, stressing that the pandemic was not yet over and that Covid-19 vaccination services would remain accessible at designated sites, including some public health facilities.

“Thus, until such time that the World Health Organisation announces 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,” the joint statement said.

The NICD added that it would continue issuing weekly surveillance reports.

The latest daily surveillance report, on Friday 29 July, confirmed that 354 new Covid-19 infections had been recorded while five more people had died of health issues linked to the virus. There are just under 5 000 active Covid-19 cases nationwide and the Western Cape leads other provinces with 1 544 cases, while the Free State has 1 216.  

The recovery rate from the virus is 97.3%. 

Since March 2020, South Africa has recorded more than four million positive Covid-19 cases, and a total of 101 982 deaths.

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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