COVID-19 WRAP | SA coronavirus cases increase to 628,259 | More than 28,000 kids in WC exempted from school over virus fears

01 September 2020 - 07:28 By TimesLIVE
Workers wearing protective masks are seen behind a bar as Miami-Dade county allows indoor servicing in restaurants after easing some lockdown measures put in place during the coronavirus disease pandemic in Miami, Florida, US, August 31, 2020.
Workers wearing protective masks are seen behind a bar as Miami-Dade county allows indoor servicing in restaurants after easing some lockdown measures put in place during the coronavirus disease pandemic in Miami, Florida, US, August 31, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Marco Bello

September 1 2020 - 21:50

SA records 1,218 new Covid-19 cases as nearly 550,000 recoveries confirmed

South Africa has recorded 1,218 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, taking the national total to 628,259 infections.

The latest figures, released by health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Tuesday night, mean that there have been 15,530 confirmed cases in the past seven days. This is just 1,586 cases more than the country's biggest single-day increase in cases - 13,944 on July 24. 

September 1 2020 - 21:39

Nearly 35,000 kids exempted from school over Covid-19 fears

A total of 34,565 pupils in seven provinces have been exempted from attending school because of the fear of contracting Covid-19 - including a whopping 28,861 from the Western Cape.

A further 10,903 pupils had declared comorbidities.

Director-general of basic education Mathanzima Mweli released the figures to parliament on Tuesday.

September 1 2020 - 18:59

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 25.59 million, death toll at 850,571

More than 25.59 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 850,571​ 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. 

-REUTERS

September 1 2020 - 18:33

Taxpayers will have to fork out billions for Covid-19, SOEs tell parliament

State entities, including the SABC, Denel, Airports Company SA (Acsa) and the Post Office,  have requested billions of rand in funding from the taxpayer to help them weather the coronavirus storm, says the National Treasury.

In a presentation to parliament’s standing committee on appropriations, the Treasury said the SABC “has indicated” a revenue loss of R1.5bn for the 2020/21 financial year as a result of the pandemic's affect on revenue and the displacement costs of public service announcements.

September 1 2020 - 17:49

New York schools to delay class start under safety deal with unions

New York City public schools, the largest US school system, will delay the start of classes by 11 days to September 21 under an agreement with education unions that had pushed for additional coronavirus safety measures, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday.

Unions, led by the United Federation of Teachers, had expressed concern that the city was rushing into its September 10 scheduled start of the school year without taking adequate steps to protect teachers, students and staff from infections.

But in announcing the agreement, de Blasio was joined by union leaders who said their health and safety concerns had been met.

"What we've agreed to is to make sure that the health measures are in place, to make sure there is time for the appropriate preparation for our educators," de Blasio said at a briefing.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew last month threatened to strike, which would be illegal under state law, unless schools implemented a rigorous Covid-19 testing plan and other safety measures.

Joining de Blasio, however, Mulgrew hailed the agreement. "Our medical experts have stamped this plan, and we now can say that the New York City public school system has the most aggressive policies and greatest safeguards of any school system in America," said Mulgrew.

- Reuters

September 1 2020 - 17:13

Portugal's Covid-19 cases raise UK quarantine fears

As coronavirus cases in Portugal go up and down, fears are growing that Britain will reimpose a quarantine for people travelling from the country.

It has been less than two weeks since Britain, Portugal's leading source of tourism, lifted a 14-day self-isolation rule for travellers arriving from Portugal.

The announcement was a relief for the tourism sector, which struggled as restrictions kept visitors away over the summer. The number of passengers arriving from Britain has grown by a whopping 190% since Portugal was removed from Britain's quarantine list. But a steady count of several hundred new cases per day over the last week raised fears Britain would put Portugal back on the list.

Last Thursday, health authorities reported 401 new infections, the highest since early July. Cases have since dropped, with 231 on Tuesday, bringing the total to 58,243.

British ambassador Chris Sainty said on Monday the embassy has been working closely with Portuguese authorities to understand the situation but "things can change quickly".

- Reuters

September 1 2020 - 14:06

Coronavirus: the pandemic is changing our brains – here are the remedies

Whether you have contracted Covid-19 or not, your brain is likely to have changed over the past few months. The virus itself can cause a number of neurological problems, along with anxiety and depression. The isolation and worry caused by the pandemic can similarly alter our brain chemistry and cause mood disorders.

In our new paper, published in Neuropsychopharmacology Reviews, we have investigated how to best overcome the brain changes linked to the pandemic.

September 1 2020 - 12:15

Airbnb and Ubuntu Beds to support frontline medics battling Covid-19

Airbnb and Ubuntu Beds have on Tuesday launched an initiative to provide frontline medical staff with subsidised places to stay as they continue to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, as part of Airbnb’s frontline stays initiative.

"As South Africa moves to Alert Level 2 and restrictions across the country ease, Airbnb will leverage the generosity of hosts across the region to help house heroic medical staff as they work tirelessly to keep South Africans safe. Airbnb will waive all fees for these stays."

September 1 2020 - 12:12

SMMEs get nearly half of the R1.25bn Western Cape has spent on Covid-19

Nearly half of the R1.25bn the Western Cape government has spent on fighting Covid-19 has gone to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).

This emerged on Tuesday in the second edition of the procurement disclosure report published by the provincial treasury. It said small businesses had received R669m (47.41%) of the Covid-19 spend.

September 1 2020 - 11:38

African health research needs support: here’s one programme that’s working

African countries bear a disproportionate burden of infectious and noncommunicable diseases. More than two thirds of people living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s estimated that over 85% of deaths due to noncommunicable diseases are in low- and middle-income countries.

To help solve these health problems, academic institutions need stronger research capacity.

But the continent continues to lag behind other regions in research output. Less than 1% of the world’s research is produced in Africa.

This article was first published in The Conversation.

September 1 2020 - 11:37

Pain and shortness of breath: The long-term effects of Covid-19

On the morning of July 21 2020, Vusi Sidindi felt like he was coming down with flu. He immediately went to be tested for Covid-19.

Later that day, his condition worsened. Struggling to breathe, he rushed himself to Life Kingsbury Hospital in Cape Town, where he was told the following day he had tested positive for Covid-19. This was the beginning of a lengthy battle to regain his health.

After being discharged, Sidindi started experiencing unusual complications beyond the common Covid-19 symptoms of fever, a dry cough and tiredness, among other things.

This article was first published by New Frame.

September 1 2020 - 11:29

SA needs a plan to protect children’s health beyond Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a head-on challenge to even the most solid health systems in the world. In South Africa its onset collided with the already existing quadruple burden of disease. The country faces epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis (TB); non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes; suboptimal maternal and child health; as well as violence and injuries.

To deal with Covid-19 the government re-organised the health system. Medical and laboratory capacity was increased and field hospitals were built – all in anticipation of a rapid rise in adult Covid-19 patients.

This article was first published in The Conversation

September 1 2020 - 10:26

Shocking stats on gender-based violence during lockdown revealed

The effect of lockdown on gender-based violence (GBV) has been laid bare by a researcher who collected data from every support call centre.

The government GBV and femicide command centre alone recorded more than 120,000 victims in the first three weeks of lockdown, said Rose Gawaya, a gender adviser at the Social Policy Network.

September 1 2020 - 10:25

India's coronavirus surge eases slightly as millions take exams, pubs reopen

India's tally of coronavirus infections surged to nearly 3.7 million on Tuesday, as millions of masked students sat for college admission exams after the government refused to defer them.

India, the world's third most affected country by the pandemic after the United States and Brazil, reported 69,921 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, the lowest in six days.

It took the overall number of cases to 3.69 million, while the death toll from Covid-19 rose by 819 to 65,288. On Sunday, India reported 78,761 new cases, the world's biggest, single-day tally.

September 1 2020 - 09:00

AstraZeneca expands Covid-19 vaccine supply tie-up with Oxford Biomedica

AstraZeneca has expanded its agreement with Oxford Biomedica to make and supply the drugmaker's Covid-19 vaccine candidate, in a deal that will pay the gene and cell therapy firm $15 million upfront and an additional $35 million plus other costs by the end of 2021.

Oxford Biomedica said in a statement that under the deal it would mass-produce the potential vaccine, AZD1222, for the novel coronavirus for a period of 18 months, which may be further extended by another 18 months into 2022 and 2023.

- Reuters

September 1 2020 - 09:00

French companies will have a week to adopt new face mask rules -minister

French companies will have around a week to adopt new, strict rules on the compulsory wearing of face masks in the workplace to curb the spread of Covid-19, employment minister Elisabeth Borne said on Tuesday.

Borne told LCI TV that staff working alone, or in open-plan workspaces where there were relatively few staff with big spaces between workers, would not have to wear masks.

- Reuters

September 1 2020 - 08:58

Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 1,218 

 The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,218 to 243,599, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday.

The reported death toll rose by 4 to 9,302, the tally showed. 

- Reuters

September 1 2020 - 07:26

SA's Covid-19 deaths gradually approaching 15,000 mark

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