COVID-19 WRAP | South Africa records more than 4,000 new Covid-19 cases
December 6 2020 - 21:56
South Africa records 4,116 new Covid-19 cases
South Africa recorded 4,116 new cases of Covid-19 and 139 deaths in the past 24 hours, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday.
He said the total number of infections in SA now stands at 814,565 while the death toll has climbed to 26,735.
December 6 2020 - 20:14
Pfizer's COVID-19 shots could be shipped within 24 hours after Canadian approval
Shipment of COVID-19 vaccines in Canada could start within 24 hours after Canadian health authorities approve the shots, a top official of pharmaceutical company BioNTech told CBC on Sunday, comparing it with the timeline achieved in Britain.
A vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is expected to be the first to secure approval in Canada, though the country has signed supply deals with seven manufacturers.
Since Britain approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine last week, taking pole position in the global race to begin the most crucial mass inoculation programme in history, the focus has shifted to how quickly other countries could move and when the shots would be available to the public.
"If I used the UK as an example, we got approval at 1 a.m. in the morning, we approved the release of the vaccine and shipped it within 24 hours," Sean Marett, chief business and chief commercial officer for BioNTech told Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC).
December 6 2020 - 18:14
Advice for matrics who attended a superspreader event
Health minister Zweli Mkhize made an urgent appeal on Sunday for pupils who attended coastal matric rage parties — confirmed to be superspreader events — to go into isolation to reduce the risk of infecting more people.
“We confirm that we have now identified a number of Covid-19 confirmed cases arising from these superspreader events. This therefore means that if you attended any of these rage events, you are now regarded as a contact,” he said on Sunday.
December 6 2020 - 17:15
Matric rage parties were superspreader events: Zweli Mkhize
Health minister Zweli Mkhize on Sunday called on all those who attended matric rage parties across the country to immediately go into a 10-day quarantine period.
Mkhize made the urgent call as a number of people who attended the parties tested positive for Covid-19.
“We wish to make an urgent announcement to all parents and learners regarding a superspreader event that has been identified,” Mkhize said.
December 6 2020 - 12:01
Russia reports record 29,039 new Covid-19 cases
Russia reported a record high of 29,039 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, taking the national total to 2,460,770 since the pandemic began.
Authorities confirmed 457 deaths related to Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, pushing the official national death toll to 43,141.
December 6 2020 - 11:56
Britain's Queen Elizabeth may go public after having Covid vaccine
Britain's Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip may "let it be known" once they have received a vaccine against Covid-19, The Times newspaper reported, citing unnamed royal aides.
The 94-year-old monarch and her 99-year-old spouse are likely to be among the first to be offered a jab, with the government prioritising elderly people as it begins the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine that was approved on December 2.
The queen is highly admired in British society, and her public backing for the vaccine would be a powerful message to counter anti-vaccination misinformation circulating online.
December 6 2020 - 11:51
Covid-19 daily infections surpass 4,400 for three days in row
Covid-19 infections have surpassed the 4,400 mark daily for the past three days in SA.
Stats released by the department of health on Saturday night recorded 4,645 new infections over 24 hours, taking the cumulative total to 810,449.
December 6 2020 - 10:30
Flood of positive Covid-19 tests after teens attend Rage parties: doctor
A doctor is urging teenagers who attended Rage parties in KwaZulu-Natal to quarantine after an influx of Covid-19 test requests.
Dr Kamz Govender, who works in the Upper Highway area west of Durban, said the number of requests for Covid-19 tests in the past 48 hours had been overwhelming.
Govender wrote on Facebook: “This has been largely due to them attending the annual matric Rage event over the last week and having multiple friends who have tested positive for Covid-19.”
December 6 2020 - 10:12
First ODI between SA and England abandoned after positive Covid-19 cases
Sunday's One Day international between South Africa and England at Boland Park in Paarl has been abandoned after two hotel workers in the teams' bio-secure environment tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing a new round of tests in the tourists' camp.
The start of the game was initially delayed before the decision was made to cancel the game altogether, according to various sources, reducing the series to two matches that are scheduled to be played at Newlands in Cape Town on Monday and Wednesday.
December 6 2020 - 8:21
'SA has to choose vaccine carefully'
SA needs a Covid-19 vaccine by April, but jumping at the first one on the market could be a costly mistake, warn health experts.
A critical part of the decision-making process about which vaccine is best for SA needs to take culture and supply chain management into account, said Stavros Nicolai, chair of the Business for SA health working group.
He is backed up by some of the country's leading health experts, who said the government must be sure it spends money on a vaccine best suited to SA's conditions, as its pockets are not deep enough to rectify a mistake.
December 6 2020 - 7:56
Australian state eases restrictions for 'Covid safe' summer
Australia's Victoria state eased Covid-19 restrictions on Sunday after the country's pandemic hotspot recorded 37 days without any new coronavirus infections, moving toward a "Covid-safe" holiday season.
From midnight on Sunday, up to 100 people will be able to attend public gatherings such as weddings, with density rules of one person per two square metres remaining in place, while 50% of office workers will be able to return to workplaces by January 11, up from 25% now, the state's premier said.
December 6 2020 - 7:42
When the virus hits, 'you are not special'
For health minister Zweli Mkhize, his brush with the potentially fatal coronavirus starkly brought home the reality of his shared human mortality.
Mkhize, the face of SA's fight against Covid-19, this week opened up about the recent scare when he too became a pandemic statistic - both he and his wife Dr May Mkhize tested positive for the virus in October and went into quarantine.
Speaking to the Sunday Times on the sidelines of a World Aids Day commemoration event in Soweto, Mkhize, 64, described the toll the virus took on him and his family.
December 6 2020 - 7:31
China reports 18 new Covid-19 cases
Mainland China reported 18 new Covid-19 cases on December 5, up from 17 cases from a day earlier, the country's national health authority said on Sunday.
The National Health Commission said in a statement that 17 of the new cases were imported infections. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 2 from 12 a day earlier.
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Mainland China stands at 86,619. The death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.
December 6 2020 - 7:26
Mexico registers 11,625 new coronavirus cases, 593 more deaths
Mexico's health ministry on Saturday reported 11,625 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and an additional 593 fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 1,168,395 cases and 109,456 deaths.
The government says the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.
December 6 2020 - 7:19
South Korea reports 631 new coronavirus cases as new restrictions loom
South Korea reported 631 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, ahead of an expected government decision on whether to further tighten social distancing curbs as health authorities struggle to contain a third wave of outbreaks.
This brings the country's total tally to 37,546, with 545 deaths, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported.
December 6 2020 - 7:15
Britain gets ready for roll-out of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine this week
Britain is preparing to become the first country to roll out the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine this week, initially making the shot available at hospitals before distributing stocks to doctors' clinics, the government said on Sunday.
The first doses are set to be administered on Tuesday, with the National Health Service (NHS) giving top priority to vaccinating the over-80s, front-line health-care workers and care home staff and residents.
Britain gave emergency use approval for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech last week - jumping ahead in the global race to begin the most crucial mass inoculation programme in history.
In total, Britain has ordered 40 million doses - enough to vaccinate 20 million people in the country of 67 million.
About 800,000 doses are expected to be available within the first week.
December 6 2020 - 6:46
Studying during Covid-19: It’s been an education
When University of Cape Town medical student Langa Twala saw slides of the novel coronavirus in a virology lecture, he could not have known that the microscopic spiked virus would turn his year upside down. Students in 2020 have had to deal with more extended disruptions than those during the #FeesMustFall protests in recent years.
“Coronavirus sounded like something that would stay far away, but it escalated so quickly,” said Twala, a 2020 class rep and former president of the Health Sciences Students’ Council.
December 6 2020 - 6:38
Breathalysers out, roadside routine in
If you’re stopped for suspected drink-driving this festive season, expect some old-fashioned treatment at the side of the road.
The use of breathalysers has been suspended in most of SA since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, and traffic cops have resorted to methods such as asking drivers to stand on one leg or walk along a white line if they suspect them of being over the limit.
December 6 2020 - 6:30
Brazil registers 43,209 new cases of coronavirus
Brazil reported 43,209 additional confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 664 deaths from Covid-19, the health ministry said on Saturday.
The South American country has now registered 6,577,177 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 176,628, according to ministry data, in the world's third worst outbreak outside the US and India.