Africa, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

South Africa records 744 new COVID-19 cases, 21 deaths

Country’s mass coronavirus vaccination campaign is scheduled to start on May 17, says health minister

South Africa records 744 new COVID-19 cases, 21 deaths


South Africa on Monday reported 744 new COVID-19 cases and 21 related deaths, the country's health minister said.

The new numbers pushed the caseload in the country to above 1.567 million, including 53,757 deaths and over 1.49 million recoveries, Zwelini Mkhize added.

A total of 343,420 senior citizens aged 60 and above have registered for vaccination so far, he said.

More than 10 million coronavirus tests have been conducted nationwide to date, Mkhize noted

He said the country’s mass vaccination campaign is scheduled to officially start on May 17, 2021 “to achieve population immunity by the first quarter in 2022.”

"Provided we receive the vaccines as committed to by the manufacturers, we will be able to vaccinate 46.2 million South Africans by the end of the fourth quarter that is March 2022. This tally excludes the 500,000 that will be vaccinated under the Sisonke Protocol," he stated.

"We are also hopeful that COVAX will be able to deliver 1.2 million doses this quarter," he added.

South Africa, a country of nearly 60 million people, started vaccinating health care workers in late February.

The vaccination campaign was dealt a blow when the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was suspended due to reports of blood clots in some people after its use.

The government then switched to the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was approved for general use on March 31.

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