COVID-19 WRAP | Gauteng approaches 200,000 virus cases & 'Fewer people are now going to test for Covid-19': Mkhize

14 August 2020 - 06:25 By TIMESLIVE
A banner fashioned to resemble a giant protective mask is placed on a monument of Benito Juarez, as a message to the community to fight against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Iztapalapa neighbourhood, one of the highly contagious zones, in Mexico City, Mexico, August 13, 2020.
A banner fashioned to resemble a giant protective mask is placed on a monument of Benito Juarez, as a message to the community to fight against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Iztapalapa neighbourhood, one of the highly contagious zones, in Mexico City, Mexico, August 13, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

August 14 2020 - 22:15

Covid-19: Gauteng approaches 200,000 cases as 6,286 new infections recorded

Gauteng is approaching 200,000 Covid-19 cases, as it accounted for 1,711 of the total new infections reported in the past 24 hours.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Friday night that 6,286 new Covid-19 cases had been recorded across SA in the past 24 hours. This means there are now 579,140 confirmed infections countrywide.

He also announced 286 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the national fatality toll to 11,556. Of the new deaths, 42 were in the Eastern Cape, 20 in the Free State, 26 in the North West, 76 in Gauteng, 54 in KwaZulu-Natal, 22 in Mpumalanga, 18 in the Northern Cape and 28 in the Western Cape.

August 14 2020 - 22:06

Wine or not, the effects are the same: NDZ in war of words in court battle

The effect of alcohol remains the same whether it is a result of drinking wine or any other form of liquor.

This is one of the submissions made by Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in response to an application by the Southern African Agri Initiative (Saai) against the ban on the sale of wine.

Saai teamed up with nine wine farms and associations in its court application, set to be heard in the high court in Pretoria later this month.

August 14 2020 - 17:37

'We are not past anything,' says Mkhize as WHO's 'surge team' arrives

Though there has been a notable decline in the number of new Covid-19 cases recently, SA is not yet past the surge in infections.

This is according to health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, who was speaking on Friday as he welcomed the World Health Organisation's “surge team” to the country. The team of experts has been brought in to assist the country as it fights to curb the spread of Covid-19.

August 14 2020 - 16:55

'Fewer people are now going to test for Covid-19': Zweli Mkhize

August 14 2020 - 15:31

Lockdown made SA a much safer place: Bheki Cele

Police minister Bheki Cele said there were 53,891 fewer cases of murder, attempted murder, serious assault, robbery and common assault reported for the first quarter of the 2020/2021 financial year.

The drop in crime cases is also demonstrated by a 29.4% decline in contact-related crimes, made up of arson and malicious damage to property, he said.

During this time, South Africans were also safer in their homes as burglaries at residential premises dropped by more than 30%.

August 14 2020 - 14:38

300,000 arrested for breaking lockdown laws: Cele

Police arrested and charged nearly 300,000 people for contravening lockdown laws, police minister Bheki Cele said on Friday.

He was speaking at the release of the crime statistics for the first quarter of 2019/2020 in Pretoria.

He said that of the 298,252 people arrested and charged, 181,579 were released on warning to appear before a court.

“28,337 of those arrested were found guilty of violations ranging from liquor, gathering, transport, business and cross-border related offences. Unfortunately, most of the people arrested will come out with criminal records and it is not our aim to criminalise South Africans. This is why the minister of justice and correctional services is looking at this issue,” Cele said.

August 14 2020 - 14:28

'A smack in the face': crèches fold as government budgets R1.3bn for 'compliance monitors'

As the future of nearly 30,000 crèches and preschools hangs in the balance — pushed to the brink of closure by the financial devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic with no state aid — a plan to spend R1.3bn on “compliance monitors” has been slammed.

Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu has announced that 36,000 youth compliance monitors will be employed to ensure early childhood development (ECD) centres across the country adhere to regulations borne out of the pandemic.

ECD operators have been scathing in their criticism of the plan, calling the decision to create short-term jobs instead of sustaining the employment of 200,000 people in the sector as irrational and disappointing.

August 14 2020 - 12:35

Coronavirus vaccine developer CureVac raises $213.3 mln in US IPO

CureVac BV said on Friday it raised $213.3 million in its initial public offering in New York, setting the stage for the first stock market debut of a company developing a potential vaccine to combat the coronavirus.

The German biotechnology firm, backed by Microsoft Corp founder and billionaire Bill Gates, sold 13.33 million shares at $16 apiece, the top end of its indicated price range of between $14 and $16 per share.

CureVac is researching how to use messenger RNA to treat a series of diseases, including the coronavirus.

It is an experimental approach that has also been adopted by some of its peers, including Moderna Inc and BioNTech SE.Bank of America, Jefferies, and Credit Suisse are lead underwriters on the IPO. CureVac shares are due to start trading on Nasdaq on Friday under the symbol 'CVAC'.


August 14 2020 - 11:45

Doctor's diary | Camaraderie, the deceptiveness of Covid-19, politicians' greed

A physician registrar who worked in the coronavirus wards at a small town hospital for two-and-a-half months shares his personal experiences throughout Covid-19 and its peak in SA.

August 14 2020 - 11:39

IN QUOTES | Testing, decline in cases & Soweto hotspot: David Makhura on Covid-19 in Gauteng

The Gauteng coronavirus command council gave its weekly update on the province's response to Covid-19. 

August 14 2020 - 11:23

Covid-19: Experts warn against complacency in preventing 'second wave'

Even though the decline in Covid-19 cases is a promising sign for SA, there are concerns about a second surge.

This was the opinion of the three experts who took part in a webinar presented by the University of the Free State (UFS) on Thursday.

The panellists included Prof Salim Abdool Karim, director: Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in SA (Caprisa) and chair: South African Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19; Prof Glenda Gray, president and CEO: South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC); and the UFS’s Prof Felicity Burt, NRF-DST South African research chair in vector-borne and zoonotic pathogens research.

August 14 2020 - 10:40

UK buys potential Covid-19 vaccines from J&J and Novavax

The UK government has sealed two more deals to secure Covid-19 vaccines, buying shots in development from U.S. drugmakers Johnson & Johnson and Novavax Inc, the chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce Katie Bingham told Sky News on Friday.

In a separate statement, Novavax said the UK would buy 60 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373, for a phase 3 clinical trial in the country. 


August 14 2020 - 10:30

Vietnam to buy Russian Covid-19 vaccine

Vietnam's health ministry has registered to buy a Russian Covid-19 vaccine, state television reported on Friday, as the Southeast Asian country fights a new outbreak of the coronavirus following months of no local cases.

"In the meantime, Vietnam will still continue developing the country's own Covid-19 vaccine," state broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) said. Vietnam has reported a total of 911 infections, with 21 deaths.

Russia said on Wednesday the first batch of the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine would be rolled out within two weeks, rejecting as "groundless" the safety concerns aired by some experts over Moscow's rapid approval of the drug.


August 14 2020 - 10:17

New Zealand's Ardern extends lockdown to stamp out coronavirus outbreak

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern extended a lockdown in the country's biggest city on Friday in response to the first national coronavirus outbreak in months, sticking with a "go early, go hard" approach she said has proven effective.

Ardern said genomic testing has shown the latest outbreak is a different strain to the original outbreak in New Zealand earlier in the year, suggesting it was new to the country.

August 14 2020 - 09:53

Paris is 'red' high-risk Covid-19 zone again

The French government has declared Paris and the Bouches-du-Rhone area around Marseille on the Mediterranean coast as "red" zones with a high coronavirus infection risk, according to a government decree published on Friday.

August 14 2020 - 08:47

IN PICTURES | Tembisa Hospital CEO pained by slurs and accusations, opens up

Tembisa Hospital CEO Dr Lekopane Mogaladi juggles management of staff and resources at a state facility where demand from the public outstrips capacity, with “cruel” slurs lobbied at a team he says is dedicated to helping the poor.

He opened the doors to the hospital to TimesLIVE this week, and spoke about recent allegations embroiling the facility.

August 14 2020 - 08:30

From birthing partners to visiting family in hospital, this is how hospital policies are relaxing

As the Covid-19 peak in some provinces appears to be on a downward trend and lockdown level 2 is expected to be announced soon, hospitals across SA are relaxing their regulations.

August 14 2020 - 07:15

'More women will be exposed to abuse': POWA defends booze ban

People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) says it doesn't support calls to lift the ban on alcohol as it would likely lead to a spike in gender-based violence.

While calls from across various sectors grow louder for the unbanning of sales, some have expressed opposing views.

Discussions with the government and the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) were held on Sunday. Many, including Western Cape premier Alan Winde and health minister Zweli Mkhize, have made recommendations to the council around the easing of lockdown restrictions.

August 14 2020 - 07:00

WATCH | Russia's Covid-19 'vaccine': what we know so far

Russia announced on Tuesday that it would approve a Covid-19 vaccine - a move hailed by Moscow as evidence of its scientific prowess.

The vaccine developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute will be known as "Sputnik V" when it hits the markets.

During his announcement, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the vaccine was "safe" and that it had been administered to one of his daughters.

August 14 2020 - 06:25

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 20.73 million, death toll at 749,871

More than 20.73 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 749,871​ have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.


August 14 2020 - 06:00

I'm so busy I forgot to buy food for home, says Tembisa Hospital doctor

For Dr Portia Ngwata, caring for Covid-19 patients means being so preoccupied that you forget to buy food for your two-year-old.

Ngwata is a gastroenterologist and head of clinical medicine at Tembisa Hospital in Ekurhuleni - and she is unbelievably busy.

Now one of three designated Covid-19 disease control hospitals in Gauteng, Tembisa is also no stranger to controversy. This, Ngwata said, puts a toll on staff and adds a significant amount of pressure.

August 14 2020 - 06:00

Destitute Karoo residents barely surviving fallout from Covid-19 lockdown

Small Karoo towns in the Eastern Cape that have been spared the worst of the coronavirus infections and deaths have not been spared the other devastating impacts of the lockdown.

The towns are filled with starving people who cannot take their chronic medication without food, and as a result they get sicker every day.

Phumla Seane, a senior nurse at the Wongalethu Clinic in Klipplaat, has seen dozens of patients defaulting on their treatment for high blood pressure, heart disease, tuberculosis and HIV since the lockdown began, when all possibilities of casual work in the town came to an abrupt halt. But the situation was bad even before then.