COVID-19 WRAP | UK says Covid-19 vaccine roll out could start before Christmas

28 October 2020 - 07:30 By TimesLIVE
An employee gathers protective face masks from a production line conveyor at the KB MEDICA plant in Sartrouville, near Paris on October 28 2020.
An employee gathers protective face masks from a production line conveyor at the KB MEDICA plant in Sartrouville, near Paris on October 28 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

October 28 2020 - 21:26

SA approaches 720,000 Covid-19 cases, with 51,000 considered 'active'

The number of active Covid-19 cases across SA continues to hover around the 51,000 mark, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

This as 1,863 new cases of the respiratory illness were confirmed in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of infections nationwide to 719,714.

Of the active cases, 15,909 were in Gauteng, 13,413 in the Free State, 6,772 in KwaZulu-Natal and 4,257 in the Western Cape.

October 28 2020 - 19:32

Germany to go into circuit-break lockdown as virus surges

Germany will impose an emergency month-long lockdown that includes the closure of restaurants, gyms and theatres to reverse a spike in coronavirus cases that risks overwhelming hospitals, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.

"We need to take action now," she said, adding that the key to defusing the current "very serious" situation was to reduce contacts while limiting damage to the economy.

Effective November 2 , private gatherings will be limited to 10 people from a maximum of two households. 

-REUTERS

October 28 2020 - 17:51

Gauteng health boss in charge of Covid-19 quarantine dies suddenly

Gauteng's acting CEO of emergency medical services (EMS) has died suddenly, the provincial government said on Wednesday.

Kgati Malebana, 46, was part of the provincial Covid-19 response team. His death came as a shock and was unexpected, according to department spokesperson Kwara Kekana.

Malebana was in charge of the co-ordination of self-isolation and quarantine sites. He died on Tuesday. Details were not provided.

October 28 2020 - 17:17

Government urged to keep supplying food parcels as 'pandemic fatigue' grows

About 69% of the respondents supported an increase in the value of social grants as well as retaining the R350 Covid relief grant.

The findings, which come from the second round of UJ/HSRC's Covid-19 survey, polled 7,966 respondents.

Findings were weighted to match Statistics SA data on race, education and age, and could be regarded as broadly representative of the population at large, according to the survey's summary.  

October 28 2020 - 15:45

6,140 state officials fraudulently scored R41m from Covid-19 relief scheme: SIU

More than 6,000 government officials fraudulently benefited to the tune of R41m from the Unemployment Insurance Fund's Covid-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) benefit, parliament heard on Wednesday.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) told parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) that a total of just more than R41m was claimed by 6,140 government officials from the relief fund benefit, using 3,959 bank accounts.

Of those bank accounts, 581 were associated with multiple beneficiaries (3,079 of them) and there were 55 beneficiaries who were identified who had no bank accounts. These benefited to the tune of R301,124.

October 28 2020 - 14:55

Tunisia says Covid spread 'very dangerous' with new curbs expected

Tunisia said on Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic had become "very dangerous" with 2,125 new infections and 52 deaths recorded in the past 48 hours, and new restrictions were expected to be announced within hours.

The total death toll now exceeds 1,150 with 55,000 cases and medical sources told Reuters intensive care units in most state hospitals had reached maximum capacity.

Health Ministry spokeswoman Nassaf ben Alaya said that the situation had become "very dangerous".

Ministry official Faisal ben Saleh told reporters that the number of deaths was expected to double next month. New curbs were expected, but no full lockdown, he said.

The government imposed a curfew this month in the capital and many other regions to slow a second wave.

Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi said he would not impose another lockdown, saying the economic cost was too high. 

-REUTERS

October 28 2020 - 14:17

Supply of potential Covid-19 vaccines to start in earnest in April - EU's von der Leyen

The delivery of potential Covid-19 vaccines to European Union countries could begin in earnest in April, the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

"The big numbers of supplies are due to start in April," von der Leyen told a news conference, adding that in the best-case scenario companies could deliver up to 50 million vaccines a month to the EU. 

-REUTERS

October 28 2020 - 13:32

Eli Lilly signs deal with U.S. for 300,000 vials of potential Covid-19 drug

Eli Lilly and Co said on Wednesday it signed an agreement with the US government to supply 300,000 vials of its experimental antibody drug to treat Covid-19 for $375 million.

-REUTERS

October 28 2020 - 12:32

Malaysia reports 801 new coronavirus cases, 8 new deaths

Malaysia's health ministry reported 801 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, raising the cumulative total to 29,441 infections.

The Southeast Asian country also recorded eight new deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 246. 

-REUTERS

October 28 2020 - 12:14

UK says Covid-19 vaccine roll out could start before Christmas

A Covid-19 vaccine could be rolled out in Britain for some people before Christmas but an early 2021 launch is more likely, the woman responsible for procuring possible jabs in Britain said on Wednesday.

"If the first two vaccines, or either of them, show that they are both safe and effective, I think there is a possibility that vaccine roll out will start this side of Christmas, but otherwise I think it's more realistic to expect it to be early next year," Kate Bingham said on BBC television. 

-REUTERS

October 28 2020 - 11:54

France must accept new national lockdown, says hospital professor

Professor Philippe Juvin, a leading member of Paris' Georges-Pompidou hospital, told RTL radio on Wednesday that France had to accept a new, national lockdown to tackle a resurgence of the Covid-19 virus. "We must take it up," said Juvin.

French President Emmanuel Macron will give a televised address on Wednesday evening. His government has been exploring a new, national lockdown from midnight on Thursday, BFM TV reported, albeit a slightly more flexible one than the two-month shutdown that began in mid-March.

Schools could remain open even as restrictions on people's movements become more severe, BFM TV added.

France imposed a night-time curfew on major cities, including Paris, two weeks ago running from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., but the Covid-19 figures have continued to worsen.

Official data on Tuesday showed that France had reported 523 new deaths from Covid-19 over the past 24 hours, and 33,417 new confirmed Covidcases.

France has registered a total of 35,541 deaths from Covid-19 and 1,198,695 confirmed Covidcases. The prospect of a new lockdown also hit the French stock market, with Paris' benchmark CAC-40 index falling by 2.8 percent by 0940 GMT, while travel and leisure stocks such as Air France KLM and hotels group Accor also slumped.

-REUTERS

October 28 2020 - 10:54

Indonesia coronavirus case tally tops 400,000

 Indonesia's coronavirus infections have passed the 400,000 mark, with 4,029 new cases confirmed on Wednesday, according to health ministry data.

The Southeast Asian country has 400,483 cases. With the addition of Wednesday's 100 more Covid-19 deaths, it has recorded 13,612 fatalities.

-REUTERS

October 28 2020 - 10:26

Protection level and timing of early Covid vaccines still uncertain - UK minister

It is likely that the first Covid-19 vaccines will be imperfect and it is still unclear when they will be ready and how much protection they will give, British environment minister George Eustice said on Wednesday.

Asked about an opinion piece by the head of the UK Vaccine's Taskforce that the first generation of Covid-19 vaccines "is likely to be imperfect" and that they "might not work for everyone", Eustice said he thought the analysis was "probably right".

"A vaccine will be the answer at some point, but it is too early to say precisely when that vaccine will come. I know there's some hope that there might something as quickly as Christmas, but that's not by any means a certainty," he told Sky News.

"Always with a vaccine, you don't know precisely what level of protection it will deliver... There's always a lot of doubt and uncertainty with vaccines." 

-REUTERS

October 28 2020 - 09:17

Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 14,964 - RKI

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 14,964, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

The reported death toll rose by 27, the tally showed.

-REUTERS

October 28 2020 - 08:17

Cyril Ramaphosa goes into self-isolation

President Cyril Ramaphosa has begun a period of self-quarantine after a guest at a dinner attended by the president on October 24 2020 tested positive for Covid-19.

On Tuesday, Ramaphosa was with other senior government officials including two ministers at the unveiling of a statue in honour of late struggle stalwart Oliver Reginald Tambo at the OR Tambo International Airport.

October 28 2020 - 08:00

'Peer management' needed to enforce wearing of masks, says Prof Glenda Gray

South Africans have to “peer manage” each other into wearing face masks in public, says the president of the SA Medical Research Council, Prof Glenda Gray.

Over the past few weeks, social media has witnessed an increase in “mask-shaming” as some users said they were shamed for wearing a mask in public and even in restaurants.

October 28 2020 - 07:48

Discussions underway to extend UIF Covid-19 TERS payments

The UIF has disbursed more than R50 billion to workers affected by the Covid-19 lockdown in the country, department of labour said in a statement.

The department also revealed that discussions are underway regarding the extension of the Covid-19 temporary employer-employee relief scheme (TERS) payments beyond September 16 2020.

October 28 2020 - 07:30

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 43.72 million, death toll at 1,161,943

More than 43.72 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,161,943​ 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

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