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COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 4,011 new Covid-19 infections

08 December 2020 - 07:32 By TimesLIVE
A shopper wearing a face protective mask walks by Christmas decorations at The Grove shopping center during a partial lockdown amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, in Los Angeles, California, US on December 7 2020.
A shopper wearing a face protective mask walks by Christmas decorations at The Grove shopping center during a partial lockdown amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, in Los Angeles, California, US on December 7 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

December 08 2020 - 21:32

SA records 183 Covid-19 deaths in past 24 hours, as cases climb to 821,889

SA recorded 183 Covid-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, with nearly two-thirds of them coming from the Eastern Cape and Western Cape.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said that 82 of the deaths were recorded in the Eastern Cape, and 50 in the Western Cape. There were also 20 deaths recorded in the Free State, 13 in KwaZulu-Natal, 11 in Gauteng and seven in the Northern Cape.

This means that the nationwide death toll has increased to 22,432.

December 08 2020 - 15:54

US seeks to secure vaccine supply as Britain starts first Covid-19 shots

he Trump administration sought to shore up the US vaccine supply on Tuesday as a 90-year-old British woman became the first person outside of trials to receive the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

Progress toward a vaccine has offered a ray of hope in a pandemic that killed 15,000 people in the US last week alone and has overwhelmed hospitals with intensive care patients.

Pfizer is on the cusp of winning US approval for the vaccine it developed with Germany's BioNTech, but Britain has already authorised the Pfizer vaccine, enabling Margaret Keenan to receive the first jab at her local hospital in Coventry, central England.

Reuters

December 08 2020 - 14:23

South Korea to buy millions of coronavirus vaccine doses but sees no need to hurry

South Korea said on Tuesday it had signed deals to provide coronavirus vaccines for 44 million people next year but it would not hurry inoculation to allow more time to observe potential side effects.

Its cautious approach comes as the country of almost 52 million people battles surging Covid-19 infections that health authorities say threaten to overwhelm the medical system.

Other countries are moving ahead to grant emergency use approval for the vaccines in a bid to contain virus transmission.

Reuters

December 08 2020 - 12:15

KZN premier lays down the law against those attending 'superspreader' events

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala has issued a stern warning to those planning to attend or host superspreader events.

In a statement on Tuesday, Zikalala appealed to parents and pupils not to organise or take part in celebrations in the province which flout current Covid-19 safety protocols and endanger lives.

“We again wish to warn all those who intend to hold such events that this is against the regulations and we will not hesitate to apply the full extent and might of the law to deal with any such transgressions wherever they occur.” 

December 08 2020 - 12:06

Buffalo City metro red-flagged as Covid-19 infections rise

An increase in Covid-19 infections in the past two days has raised a red flag over the Buffalo City metro (BCM).

East London, Bhisho, King William’s Town and Mdantsane have emerged as hotspots in the metro, mayor Xola Pakati confirmed on Monday.

So full are BCM hospitals that critically ill patients from Mthatha cannot be transferred and have to instead be moved to KwaZulu-Natal facilities.

December 08 2020 - 11:58

Working in the nude — one of the perks of the Covid-19 lockdown?

People working from home during the pandemic have discovered guilty pleasures they would like to keep, according to a study.

During research commissioned by cybersecurity company Kaspersky on the opportunities opened up by working from home in SA, 15% of respondents said they liked working without clothes.

Other novelties favoured by employees in SA include weekday lie-ins (42%), binge-watching Netflix (33%) and working outside in the garden or on a balcony (32%).

December 08 2020 - 11:35

In England, William Shakespeare receives a Covid-19 vaccine

William Shakespeare from Warwickshire in England was one of the first people to receive the newly approved Covid-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial on Tuesday.

The 81-year-old had the injection at University Hospital Coventry on Tuesday, 20 miles from Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of his namesake, England's greatest dramatist and poet.

Shakespeare's shot inspired Twitter users, who joked "The Taming of the Flu", "The Two Gentlemen of Corona". Some asked if Margaret Keenan was patient 1A, then was Shakespeare "Patient 2B or not 2B?".  

Reuters

December 08 2020 - 11:04

Initiation after December 17 amid strict Covid-19 protocols

Traditional circumcision will remain illegal until December 17, and only boys who have had the mandatory health screening, which includes a Covid-19 test, and have a permit will be permitted to undergo the rite.

Eastern Cape co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha, said law enforcement agencies would be on standby until then to pounce on any transgressors.

Nqatha said traditional initiations would be held under very strict Covid-19 regulations and warned all those involved, including parents and the boys themselves, to ensure no-one would be infected by the coronavirus at initiation schools. 

DispatchLive

December 08 2020 - 10:54

1,300 Gauteng teens urged to quarantine after attending KZN matric rage

“We knew that attending Rage was a bit risky, but government hadn’t outlawed it, so we thought we would be okay.”

When Laura’s (not her real name) mother fetched her from Ballito Rage last Friday and the 18-year-old Durban private school matriculant was out of breath by the time she’d loaded her suitcase into the car's boot, they suspected the worst.

“I have never had any lung issues, so it was really scary battling to breathe,” she said.

December 08 2020 - 10:24

Man fined R53,000 for eight-second violation of Covid-19 quarantine

A man has been fined a whopping R53,000 for breaking strict Covid-19 regulations in Taiwan — for just eight seconds.

The migrant worker was spotted briefly stepping out of his room doorway at a hotel where he was undergoing a mandatory 14 days of quarantine in Kaohsiung City.

Central News Agency (CNA) and CNN reported that CCTV footage revealed he had spent eight seconds out of his room in the city, which has 56 hotels with about 3,000 rooms used for quarantine purposes.

December 08 2020 - 09:40

South Korea to boost Covid-19 vaccine air transport by easing dry ice rules

South Korea more than tripled the number of coronavirus vaccine containers aircraft can carry by easing limits on dry ice needed to keep them cold, the country's deputy minister for aviation told Reuters on Tuesday.

South Korea said on Tuesday it signed deals to provide coronavirus vaccines for 44 million people next year, including from AstraZeneca Plc, Pfizer Inc, and Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson's Janssen.

Airlines and governments round the globe are working on ways to establish cold chain delivery systems for vaccines, like Pfizer's, which requires storage at below minus 70 Celsius, and Moderna’s, which needs to be kept at -20C.

Reuters

December 08 2020 - 09:35

British grandma is first in world to get Pfizer vaccine outside trial

Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old grandmother from Britain, has become the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine outside of a trial following its rapid clinical approval.

An early riser, Keenan received the jab at her local hospital in Coventry, central England, on Tuesday morning at 08:31am, a week before she turns 91.

Britain began rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech on Tuesday, the first Western country to start vaccinating its general population in what was hailed as a decisive watershed in defeating the coronavirus.

Reuters

December 08 2020 - 09:05

'Lockdowns are ineffective and destructive': John Steenhuisen on Nelson Mandela Bay restrictions

DA leader John Steenhuisen says the decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa not to put Nelson Mandela Bay on lockdown is an admission that lockdowns are “catastrophically destructive” and “ineffective”.

During his address to the nation last week, Ramaphosa announced that the metro had been declared a hotspot. Among tightened measures aimed at combating the spread of Covid-19 are restrictions on the sale of alcohol.

“Alcohol consumption in public spaces such as the beautiful beaches of the area, and parks, is strictly forbidden. This is necessary to prevent large social gatherings that often take place in those spaces,” said Ramaphosa.

December 08 2020 - 08:29

A year on, markets bustling in Chinese city where Covid-19 emerged

Hundreds of shoppers pack a wet market on a December weekday morning in the Chinese city of Wuhan, jostling to buy fresh vegetables and live fish, frogs and turtles.

Almost a year since the city reported the world's first cases of Covid-19 in one of its handful of vast wet markets, and even as several other countries remain firmly in the grip of the subsequent pandemic, life in Wuhan has largely returned to normal.

“I'm not afraid, what is there to be afraid of?” said Nie Guangzhen, a fish and vegetable vendor.

Reuters

December 08 2020 - 08:09

Trump to order priority access to US Covid-19 vaccines for Americans

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Tuesday to ensure that priority access for Covid-19 vaccines procured by the US government is given to the American people before assisting other nations, senior administration officials said on Monday.

The Trump administration is confident it will have enough vaccine to inoculate everyone who wants a vaccine by the end of the second quarter of 2021, one official said, disputing a New York Times story that the government declined when Pfizer Inc offered in late summer to sell more vaccine doses to the United States.

Trump, who has faced sharp criticism for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, is eager to take credit for the speedy development and distribution of a vaccine.

Reuters

December 08 2020 - 08:03

Agents raid US coronavirus data scientist's home, confiscate hardware

US law enforcement agents on Monday raided the home of a top data scientist who helped build Florida state's online Covid-19 dashboard and alleged she was fired from her government job because she refused to manipulate data.

The home of Rebekah Jones in Tallahassee, Florida, was raided by agents executing a search warrant on suspicion that Jones hacked into a state Department of Health communications system, said Rick Swearingen, commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Swearingen said agents "seized several devices that will be forensically analyzed." Jones, in a Twitter post, said her phone "and all my hardware and tech" were confiscated.

Reuters

December 08 2020 - 07:27

Australia's western state removes quarantine requirements for more travellers

Australia's western state began on Tuesday to allow travellers from Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) to enter without having to quarantine for the first time in eight months, in the latest sign the country is returning to some kind of normalcy.

Passengers on a Qantas flight arrived in Perth, the capital of Western Australia, from Sydney to emotional scenes of families reuniting after months of separation.

The move comes as Australia's two most populous states have seen little to no new cases in recent weeks, and underscores Australia's success in containing the Covid-19 pandemic which has killed over 1.5 million people worldwide.

Reuters

Cyril puts hotspot Bay in the dry dock, but initiation season will go ahead

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