South Africa moved to Alert Level 1 on September 21, as new COVID-19 infections continued to slow across the country and the National Department of Health (NDoH) reported that the epidemiological curve has plateaued. UNICEF and partners are now working on further scaling up risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) efforts to prevent a second wave, as movement of people increases, and the holiday season approaches.
UNICEF joined a task team, under the Minister of Education, to deal with the challenges of lower than normal school attendance. The rates of pupils going back to school varies from 94% in Mpumalanga province to 77% of learners attending class in Free State province.
UNICEF’s ‘Tippy Tap Challenge’ has been taken up by more than 11,000 young people who have registered on the Zlto platform. This provides an opportunity for young people to not only improve handwashing facilities and behavior in their communities but to earn digital rewards that can be exchanged for food and airtime when they show evidence of a new Tippy Tap.
• The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached 672,572, with COVID-19 related deaths at 16,667 and the recovery rate now stands at 90%.
• New data shows that children make up 7,6% of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,9% of all COVID-19 associated admissions to hospitals. The number of cases and the incidence risk ratio was higher in 15-18 years old girls compared to boys. Nearly 70% of cases had underlying conditions, with asthma and chronic pulmonary disease the most frequently reported followed by HIV and diabetes.
• Nearly 32,500 healthcare workers have been infected with COVID- 19, accounting for 4.8% of all cases. Of those, 257 healthcare personnel have died.
• As COVID-19 infection rates have slowed, the broader impact of the virus and related lockdown is becoming clearer. Violence against children and gender-based violence issues have been called the country’s second pandemic and UNICEF is working to strengthen prevention and early intervention programmes. Some 20,000 children have been assisted with online counselling, referrals and information for their physical, emotional and psychological health.