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Health department announces end of Covid-19 daily reports. Picture: 123RF/ktsdesign
Health department announces end of Covid-19 daily reports. Picture: 123RF/ktsdesign

The health department announced on Sunday it was bringing to an end the Covid-19 daily reporting by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) that has been in place since 2020.

Health department spokesperson Foster Mohale said due to the reduced severity and transmissibility of the disease, coupled with declining Covid-19 case numbers, the department together with the NICD had agreed that the bulk of the staff responsible for the numbers return to their permanent jobs.

“This means the department will, with effect from August 1 publish the Covid-19 surveillance data on a weekly basis, but continue to closely monitor the situation.”

Mohale said the decision did not mean the pandemic was over and vaccination services would remain accessible at designated sites, including some public health facilities.

“Until such time that the World Health Organization 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 NICD 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.

“Therefore, the NICD remains committed to its surveillance activities and will continue reporting Covid-19 surveillance data as per normal, with the data being published in the existing weekly surveillance reports,” said Mohale.

Meanwhile, the department of home affairs says it will on Monday reopen 29 border posts that were closed more than two years ago due to the pandemic.

The 29 border posts between SA and neighbouring countries such as  Botswana and Namibia remained closed despite the lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Some businesses in Limpopo, North West and the Northern Cape said they had incurred major financial losses over the past two years, resulting in widespread retrenchments because of loss of business.

Home affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza confirmed on Sunday that all 29 borders would open on Monday, after minister Aaron Motsoaledi approved their reopening.

The opening of the borders will also benefit the national parks in these areas.

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Northern Cape under SANParks is surrounded by the Twee Rivieren and Mata Mata borders, which are also set to reopen.

“We are quite excited about this development because there’s significant traffic between Namibia and Botswana going into the Kgalagadi. This will mean that we will get back into business,” Rey Thakhuli, spokesperson for SANParks, said.

“This has been long overdue and people have suffered,” DA home affairs spokesperson Adrian Roos said.

“But we still need answers as to why it took so long,” he said.

TimesLIVE 

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