COVID-19 WRAP | SA's Covid-19 cases jump by 2,888 in a day & cost of Covax estimated at R4.8bn

18 November 2020 - 07:39 By TimesLIVE
A bronze statue of late singer Ella Fitzgerald is seen wearing a hat and protective face mask, as the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, outside the Metro-North Railroad Station Plaza in Yonkers, New York, U.S., November 17 2020.
A bronze statue of late singer Ella Fitzgerald is seen wearing a hat and protective face mask, as the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, outside the Metro-North Railroad Station Plaza in Yonkers, New York, U.S., November 17 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

November 18 2020 - 21:20

SA's Covid-19 cases jump by 2,888 in a day, taking total to 757,144

The cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases in SA on Wednesday, 258 days since the first confirmed case was announced in the country, is 757,144.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said there had been 2,888 new cases identified since the last report on Tuesday. The figure recorded over the previous 24-hour cycle was 1,987 new cases.

November 18 2020 - 16:46

Covid-19, leaks and impostors: inside the 2020 matric examinations

Less than two weeks after the start of the 2020 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations, for which a record 1,058,699 candidates are registered, the department of basic education conceded on Wednesday that there had been several hurdles.

The challenges included new Covid-19 infections daily, forcing pupils into isolation or having to write at alternative venues. In one instance in the Eastern Cape last week, 93 pupils tested positive for Covid-19. 

In another incident, flagged by the department, two adults were caught red-handed entering exam rooms purporting to be registered pupils. One was arrested and another managed to flee. 

November 18 2020 - 15:03

Pfizer ends its Covid-19 vaccine trial with a 95% success rate

Final results from Pfizer Inc's Covid-19 vaccine trial showed its shot had a 95% success rate and two months of safety data, paving the way for the drugmaker to apply for an emergency US authorisation within days, it said on Wednesday.

The vaccine's efficacy rate, the highest of any candidate in late-stage clinical trials so far, pleased experts who had already said that interim results showing Pfizer's shot was over 90% effective were very encouraging.

Pfizer said there were 170 cases of Covid-19 in its trial of more than 43,000 volunteers and only eight people with the disease had been given the shot rather than a placebo, meaning the vaccine had a 95% efficacy rate.


November 18 2020 - 13:55

English health service planning for roll-out of different Covid-19 vaccines

Covis-19 vaccines in England will be delivered through a variety of routes including local doctors surgeries and vaccine centres, NHS England's medical director said on Wednesday, adding that the exact plans will be contingent on which vaccine is used.

"We will be using our traditional vaccine routes, so general practices, likely community pharmacy, but we will also be looking at other ways of delivering vaccinations such as vaccine centres," Stephen Powis said at a news conference."The plans around the delivery mechanisms will be contingent upon particular vaccine and of course the data that comes from the trials, and the advice of regulators. We will be saying more about this in the next few days."


November 18 2020 - 10:17

Covid-19 battle between insurers and hospitality firms moves to appeal court

After two high court defeats for insurers who refused to pay Covid-19 business interruption claims, the arena is moving to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Guardrisk has challenged a Cape Town high court judgment in June ordering it to compensate Café Chameleon in Plattekloof, Cape Town, for revenue lost as a result of Covid-19 and the lockdown. Its appeal will be heard in Bloemfontein on Monday.

On Tuesday, the Cape Town court ordered Santam to pay two hospitality companies which between them have business interruption cover worth R122m.

November 18 2020 - 08:19

Cost of Covax estimated at R4.8bn to cover 20% of SA population, says Zweli Mkhize

South Africa could spend up to R4.8bn or more on a Covid-19 vaccine (Covax) that would cover 20% of the entire population. 

This was revealed by health minister Zweli Mkhize during an interview with Power FM on Wednesday morning. 

Speaking to breakfast host Faith Mangope, Mkhize said there was a budget in place and the money could be readily available. 

November 18 2020 - 08:02

Traffic backlogged as taxi operators strike over Covid-19 relief funding

Parts of the N1 highway were blocked off on Wednesday as taxi operators in and around Gauteng gear up for a planned protest march over Covid-19 relief funding that was promised to them.

Drivers have blockaded some roads and are on a go-slow drive towards Pretoria.

The National Taxi Alliance (NTA) operators plan to deliver a list of grievances to transport minister Fikile Mbalula and President Cyril Ramaphosa.

November 18 2020 - 07:16

China's battle with coronavirus on frozen food and packaging

China has ramped up testing of frozen foods after saying it has repeatedly discovered the coronavirus on imported products and their packaging, triggering mass scale testing of food and related personnel, suspension of certain imports and disruptions to trade flows.

China, which has suspended imports from 99 suppliers in 20 countries, argues these measures are needed to prevent more arrivals of the virus in a country that has largely contained the epidemic domestically.

But major food-producing countries are growing increasingly frustrated with China's scrutiny of imported products.

A seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan is widely believed to be the origin of the pandemic that emerged late last year, but the Global Times, a tabloid backed by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, suggested this week that the presence of the virus on imported food raised the possibility that it may have come from overseas.