Good afternoon to all the viewers who have joined us for this press briefing

The Covid-19 situation in our country remains of great concern as the numbers continue to increase at a very rapid rate

The number of infections continue to rise and Gauteng continues to the epicentre of new infections.

In the last 24 hours there are 18762 new cases, which represents a 25.5% positivity testing rate. Of these Gauteng accounts for 11 777 new cases.

We remain very worried about the rise in the hospitalisations which is putting a lot of strain in the health facilities in Gauteng.

The trends are clearly showing that other provinces are going to experience the trend we are seeing in Gauteng, notably in the western and the Eastern Cape.

Nationally the numbers have surpassed the first wave peak and we are likely to surpass the second wave peak.

Previously we had communicated that the third wave peak is unlikely to surpass the second wave peak.

However, that was based on the assumption that South Africa does not get a new variant.

Unfortunately, this is no longer the case, our scientists, after their sequencing experiments have discovered that we have a new variant that is prevalent in our country. This new variant is called that Delta.

Professor Oliviera will provide the details about this new variant, how fast it is spreading and its behaviour in general.

Professor Lees will give us a clinical perspective about what it means for our fight against COVIDd-19 in light of the emergence of the Delta variant

The presentation will also look at the implications of this new variant for the manner in which we are currently managing the pandemic and our vaccination programme.

Professor Mlisana will provide details on the implications and then Professor Rees will provide more details on the Effectiveness of the vaccines in light of the Delta variant.

Let me take this opportunity to thank our scientists who continue to do this world class scientific findings that are helping to fight the pandemic.

More importantly, let me thank Department of Science and Innovation led by Minister Nzimande for continuing to make funds available for this important research.

Let me also thank healthcare workers doctors, Nurses and all other supporting stuff in health care centres for continuing to be in the forefront of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

My colleagues at NCCC including the President and the deputy president, thank for the support.

Again, let me appeal to all South Africans to work with us in the fight against the pandemic and thank all those who have been complying with the regulations that are aimed at containing the spread of the virus.