South Africa currently has 13,409 active cases of Covid-19, the NICD has reported.
The country identified 1,050 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 3,990,057 to date. Seven deaths were reported, five of which occurred in the last 24 to 48 hours. This brings the total death toll to date to 101,704.
South Africa has officially ended all Covid-19 containment regulations in the country, including wearing masks indoors and in public facilities, restrictions on gatherings and border controls.
That comes after Minister of Health Joe Phaahla repealed the regulations with a notice in the state gazette.
Austria cancels compulsory Covid vaccination
Austria’s government said Thursday it would lift the country’s controversial policy of mandatory vaccination against the coronavirus just months after it came into effect.
The first EU-wide measure came into force at the beginning of February, the first checks were planned for mid-March, and those who refuse to jab face fines of up to 3,600 euros.
However, the measure was suspended in March before any controls took place. The government said such a far-reaching measure could no longer be justified by the threat of the coronavirus.
Health Minister Johannes Rauch told a press conference the measure had caused deep divisions in the country of nine million and the element of coercion had even deterred some people from getting the vaccine.
“The mandate doesn’t make anyone get vaccinated,” he said.
The Omicron variant also “changed the rules,” Rauch added, as the wave driven by this variant tends to result in cases with milder symptoms.
The mandate applied to everyone over the age of 18 with the exception of pregnant women, people who had the virus less than 180 days before and those with medical exemptions.
August Wöginger, leader of the parliamentary group of the ruling People’s Party (ÖVP), said at the same press conference that he expected the law on compulsory vaccination to be repealed in the coming weeks.
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Since it was first launched last year to increase vaccination coverage in Austria, the prospect of compulsory vaccination has often sparked street protests that have drawn tens of thousands of people.
Current official figures show that only 62 percent of the population currently have a valid vaccination certificate, lagging behind many other Western European countries.
More than 18,700 people have died in Austria after being infected with the virus.
Additional coverage from AFP