This update – the 44th of its kind – contains a consolidated overview of the South African supply chain and the current state of international trade. As with the last couple of weeks, there has been another noticeable increase in newly reported COVID-19 infections in South Africa, averaging approximately 13 009 infections per day this week (↑42% from last week’s average of 9 142). Provincially, Gauteng, North-West, and Free State have reached the height of the third wave in the previous week, as South Africa is likely to experience an expected peak in the next week or so. The total number of cases recorded in the country now stands at ~1,87 million, with a death toll of 59 406 (up by 1996), which is an alarming increase from last week. Besides the unprecedented surge in new cases caused by the third wave, the total number of active cases is an even more distressing figure. As the third wave ravages the country, active cases now number more than 142 000, and the number of new cases exceeds the number of recoveries by a substantial margin.
In absolute terms, South Africa has remained at the same spot, 19th place globally. Worldwide, more than 180 million cases have now been recorded, with a total of 3,9 million people losing their lives to the virus. In addition, a total of 2,8 billion vaccine doses have now been administered worldwide. At the same time, South Africa continues to struggle with its roll-out program, currently standing at some ~2,55 million vaccine doses. Life is seemingly back to normal in the developed world, such as North America and Western Europe, as herd immunity is becoming a reality. Scenes of full sports stadiums and concert venues appear on social media whilst we struggle to gain momentum with our vaccination programmes. Unfortunately, and we share this experience with the rest of the developing world, South Africa cannot say the same. The pandemic has indeed highlighted how extremely unequal and imbalanced the world still is.