Flash Briefing: 80% of South Africans may have had Covid-19; vaccination open to 18+; ominous Green Paper gazetted

  • As many as four out of five South Africans may have contracted the coronavirus, indicating that the country may be one of the world’s hardest-hit nations by the disease. This is according to Emile Stipp, the chief actuary at Discovery Health, who based his calculations on the country’s case-fatality rate and excess deaths, a measure of the number of fatalities compared with an historical average. They are thought to provide a more accurate picture of the impact of the pandemic than the official toll. The infection rate of between 70% and 80%, as estimated by Stipp, is high by global standards. South Africa has the highest number of infections, with over 2.6 million confirmed, and deaths in Africa. It also has the most widespread testing and monitoring of cause of death. In a May 13 presentation to Satsa, a tourism body, Stipp estimated that 62.1% of South Africans had contracted the virus – a number he’s since revised.
  • From Friday all adults in SA will be eligible to register for a Covid-19 vaccination, cabinet confirmed on Thursday. The government is fighting to boost the rate of vaccinations, which have remained low as the country battles the third wave of the pandemic. All those 18 years old and older can register for vaccinations from Friday. Five months after administering its first vaccines, SA is still far from meeting its target of reaching 70% of the population, a threshold that experts say is necessary before the country can reach herd immunity and reduce the risk of further lockdowns.
  • South Africans may be required to contribute up to 12% of their earnings to a new government-backed fund, according to a new proposal from the Department of Social Development. On Wednesday, the department gazetted its Green Paper on Comprehensive Social Security and Retirement Reform, which proposes the creation of a new National Social Security Fund (NSSF) – a government-managed fund which will provide retirement, disability benefits and unemployment benefits. All employers and employees will initially be obliged to contribute up to 12% of their earnings – up to a certain ceiling, which is currently proposed as earnings of R276,000 per year. This means that if you earn more than R276,000 a year, you will pay a maximum of 12% on R276,000 a year – around R33,100, or R2,760 a month – to the fund.
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