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This update – the 41st of its kind – contains a consolidated overview of the South African supply chain and the current state of international trade. Pandemic-wise, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has stated that four provinces6 have already entered the third wave of COVID-19 infections and have urged South Africans to remain vigilant. Although the effects have been less pronounced than expected, the situation can quickly turn for the worse. Nevertheless, the onset has resulted in the shift to Alert Level two on Sunday, 30 May7.

This week’s newly reported COVID-19 infections in South Africa have increased significantly once more to approximately 4 342 infections per day this week (↑22% from last week’s average of 3 568). As a result, the total number of cases recorded in the country now stands at ~1,67 million8, with a death toll of 56 765 (up by 595). In absolute terms, South Africa has moved up a spot to 20th place globally, having overtaken Czechia in the past week. Worldwide, more than 172 million cases have now been recorded, with a total of 3,7 million people losing their lives to the virus.

A total of 2,1 billion vaccine doses have now been administered worldwide9; some countries are nearing the herd immunity threshold, such as Israel, UK, and the US. However, the fear of uneven distribution of the vaccine continues, as some countries – including South Africa – are way behind others. Indeed, this sorry state of affairs rings true for most of Africa. In total, South Africa has now issued ~1,2 million vaccine doses. In summary, as stressed in previous editions, we desperately need to increase the tempo of vaccination.

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