The Department of Health and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) will no longer issue the daily numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospital admissions and deaths due to a decrease in SARS-CoV-2 levels.

This comes after the department and the NICD has been reporting COVID-19 surveillance data on a daily basis since 2020 to keep the South African public abreast about the pandemic situation.

“However, due to the reduced severity and transmissibility of the disease at the current moment, coupled with declining COVID-19 case numbers, the department together with the NICD has reassessed the existing reporting structures and agreed that it is justifiable to allow the majority of members of the reporting structures return to their permanent jobs on a full-time basis,” the department explained.

This means the department will, from 1 August 2022, publish the COVID-19 surveillance data weekly.

However, the department will continue to closely monitor the situation.

“The department would also like to thank all individuals, teams and stakeholders whose sacrifices, commitment and contribution made it possible for government to keep the public up to date with crucial information required to enable people and organisations to make informed health and safety decisions.”

Meanwhile, the department said this does mean the pandemic is over and that the vaccination services will remain accessible at designated sites, including at some public health facilities.

“Until such time that the World Health Organisation announce 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 NICD, according to the department, supports the decision and concurs that the current phase of the pandemic no longer requires daily COVID-19 updates.

“The public should be mindful that disease trends and weekly surveillance data largely inform health policies.”

Meanwhile, the NICD said it remains committed to its surveillance activities and will continue reporting COVID-19 surveillance data as per normal, which will be published in the existing weekly surveillance reports

Source: South African Government News Agency

News Reporter