My fellow South Africans,
We have not had our national family meeting for some time. It has been many months now since the outbreak of the coronavirus in South Africa. The pandemic has caused great hardship for all our people. After such a long time of uncertainty and worry, we all wish for a return to normal life. I know that many of us are suffering from coronavirus fatigue. The problem is that we have begun to forget that the virus is still present all around us.
As I speak to you this evening, the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening across the globe. The world has just recorded its highest number of weekly new cases since the start of the pandemic and the highest number of weekly deaths. More than 51 million people have been infected globally, and at least 1.2 million people have died. Many countries are in the midst of a second wave of infections, which has often been more severe than the first. What we are seeing brings home a difficult truth: that COVID-19 is far from over.
It is very much still here. And it will remain with us for some time to come. As South Africa, we have endured what we hope is the worst of the storm. At the height of the pandemic, in July, we were recording around 12,000 new infections a day. For more than two months now, the number of new infections has remained relatively stable at below 2,000 a day. The number of deaths has been declining steadily, as has the number of people requiring hospitalisation. The total number of new hospital admissions has declined for the 14th consecutive week.
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