South Africa


Eastern Cape’s high Covid-19 fatality rate investigated, military medics still unvaccinated and students on alert

Eastern Cape’s high Covid-19 fatality rate investigated, military medics still unvaccinated and students on alert
Compilation image by Sahra Heuwel.

This week, an investigation revealed the reasons behind the Eastern Cape’s high Covid-19 fatality rate. Meanwhile, the province’s hospitals are struggling through a dangerous staff shortage. Military healthcare workers have still not been vaccinated, despite consistent pleas from unions. And Stellenbosch University residences are on Covid alert.

Investigation reveals many Covid patients died in the Eastern Cape’s casualty wards

An investigation into the high Covid-19 fatality rate in the Eastern Cape has shown that many patients died in casualty wards or within two days of admission. In addition, the death rate and positivity rate in the province have been grossly underestimated, the report found. With budget cuts and bills going unpaid, healthcare workers fear the third wave of Covid-19 will make the situation even worse. 

Read the full article here.

Read more: Minister Mkhize, the Eastern Cape’s health system has collapsed – you must intervene

Eastern Cape hospitals face dire and dangerous staff shortages

The death of over 300 healthcare workers has added to the trauma and pressure the Covid-19 pandemic has wrought on the Eastern Cape’s public health system. The facilities have faced chronic staff shortages for years and those who remain are overwhelmed with demand for care. As Estelle Ellis writes:

“With clinical departments in the Eastern Cape’s hospitals battling severe and dangerous staff shortages, doctors are doubling up as porters and general assistants, wards are closed and children die as access to intensive care units becomes impossible, surgeries are delayed for up to two years and dire calls for more appointments are met with a resounding silence.”

Read the full article here.

Military healthcare workers still haven’t been vaccinated

Over 200,000 healthcare workers have been vaccinated through the Sisonke Programme, however, zero military healthcare workers have received a jab. Since the start of March, the South African National Defence Union, as well as the South African Medical Association, have been pleading with the South African Military Health Service to state what its vaccination plan is. As Elsabé Brits writes, the union has renewed its call for the Surgeon-General to resign immediately. 

Migrants must be included in SA vaccine rollout, says adviser to international relations minister

If migrants are denied access to Covid-19 vaccines, then South Africa will be guilty of its own version of vaccine nationalism, warned Zane Dangor, special adviser to the minister of international relations and cooperation, at a webinar this week. He said that Section 9 of the Constitution forbids discrimination and government has a duty to protect everyone living in the country. He also argued that it is important that the temporary Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights waiver must be implemented. Read more here.

Investigation launched into SAA flight fetching vaccines

An SAA take off is being investigated after the airline’s crew allegedly miscalculated the take-off weight of the plane. The flight was leaving South Africa for Brussels to collect the country’s second batch of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines. As Ray Mahlaka writes, this sort of incident is meant to be reported immediately – it was only reported to authorities three weeks after the fact.

Stellenbosch University’s residences on Covid alert

A Stellenbosch University student who stays at a university residence – home to 500 students – has tested positive for Covid-19. The semester started only a week ago. Outbreaks in the Cape Winelands region in the past few weeks have been traced to the return of students. Rebecca Pitt reports. DM/MC.



"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

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