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COVID-19 WRAP | As SA enters the second wave, will the country be going back to level 5?

10 December 2020 - 07:36 By TimesLIVE
A voter wearing a protective mask shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote during regional elections amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Depok, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia on December 9 2020.
A voter wearing a protective mask shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote during regional elections amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Depok, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia on December 9 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

December 10 2020 - 21:37

'Serious concern' as 8,100 new Covid-19 cases recorded in 24 hours

SA recorded more than 8,100 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, along with 173 fatalities.

“We wish to reiterate our plea to South Africans to heed the threat of the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases identified. There is clear evidence of an exponential rise in transmission and this is cause for serious concern,” said health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.

He confirmed that 8,166 new cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of confirmed infections countrywide to 836,764.

December 10 2020 - 20:12

Special Tribunal sets aside controversial PPE contract awarded to Diko-affiliated company

The Special Tribunal on Thursday ordered that a tender for the supply of goods awarded to Ledla Structural Development — a company linked to presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko’s husband — be reviewed, set aside and cancelled.

Ledla has been named in court papers as a “proxy” for Thandisizwe Madzikane Diko, a family friend of Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku and the husband of Khusela Diko, the Sunday Times reported in August.

On August 19, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) launched an urgent application before the Special Tribunal seeking urgent relief on three orders.

December 10 2020 - 19:37

UK has vaccinated tens of thousands against Covid-19 — minister

Tens of thousands of people in Britain have received the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine after a mass vaccination programme began earlier this week, health minister Matt Hancock said on Thursday.

"As of today, we are vaccinating in 73 hospitals across the UK, tens of thousands of people have had the jab," he said at a news conference. 

—Reuters

December 10 2020 - 18:05

WATCH | 'I lock out any vaccine that is of the devil': chief justice Mogoeng's prayer raises eyebrows

Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has been captured on video praying about vaccines being “of the devil” and corrupting people's DNA.

He was speaking at an event at Tembisa Hospital in Gauteng on Thursday.

In what his office confirmed as a prayer, the nearly two-minute video, which is circulating widely on social media, has Mogoeng starting out by saying: “Whatever phase is said to be coming, Lord I judge it, I run it down in the name of Jesus. I lock out every demon of Covid-19.”

December 10 2020 - 17:55

Brazil aims to vaccinate entire population against Covid-19 in 2021

Amid a worsening second wave of coronavirus infections and mounting domestic pressure, Brazil's Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello pledged on Thursday to vaccinate the country's entire population against Covid-19 in 2021.

The bold statement comes amid criticism from state governors that Brazil's federal government is unprepared for a mass immunisation campaign and had failed to secure a diverse enough supply of vaccines.

In a radio interview, Pazuello repeated the ministry would buy any effective vaccines that are approved by health regulator Anvisa and reasonably priced.

—Reuters

December 10 2020 - 16:39

Alan Winde reads riot act: 'Hospital beds are for Covid-19, not avoidable trauma'

With a second Covid-19 wave battering the Western Cape, local leaders have lambasted citizens who put extra pressure on systems that already take strain over the festive season.

They include people who drink too much then cause road accidents and violence, people  who assault ambulance personnel, those who carry on partying as if there’s no pandemic, and taxi passengers who share masks.

Premier Alan Winde told his weekly Covid-19 media conference on Thursday: “Covid-19 is not taking a break this season and ... we are now officially in a second wave.

December 10 2020 - 16:07

More than 1,500 new infections overnight in KZN

More than 1,500 new positive Covid-19 infections in KwaZulu-Natal overnight.

That's the grim reality health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu confirmed on Thursday, a day after national health minister Zweli Mkhize announced that SA was in the throes of a second wave of the pandemic.

Simelane-Zulu said the resurgence of Covid – 19 means the “time is over for physically close and affectionate relations between young people and their parents and grand-parents”.

December 10 2020 - 14:55

'Arrest them!': Cele tells police to crack whip on those flouting Covid-19 rules

Police minister Bheki Cele on Thursday said people found to be flouting Covid-19 safety protocols must be arrested.

He was speaking to police while kicking off his #OperationTightGrip safer festive season operations inspection tour in the Western Cape as Covid-19 infections begin to surge in parts of the province, the SABC reported.

“When you stop a taxi and people don’t have masks, arrest the damn driver ... When you go to supermarkets, when you go to malls, management there still have a responsibility,” (to ensure shoppers had access to sanitiser and entered wearing a face mask).

December 10 2020 - 13:31

SA likely to see highest Covid rise after holidays: Call to avoid big gatherings, rather than hard lockdown

Medical experts have predicted that the highest rise in Covid-19 infections will be seen after the December holidays.

This comes after health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Wednesday announced that SA is now in its second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Critical-care professor at Wits University Guy Richards said the country was likely to have a slightly delayed peak during the festive season because of migration between provinces.

December 10 2020 - 12:15

Covid-19 second wave: Western Cape premier red-flags social gatherings, year-end functions

As SA enters into a second wave of Covid-19 infections, Western Cape premier Alan Winde has urged residents to avoid large social gatherings and year-end events to curb further spread of the virus.

The Western Cape is among four provinces which account for most of the infections in the country. As of Wednesday, the province had a total of 144,419 Covid-19 infections, according to the health ministry.

Winde said among the districts which had seen a spike in Covid-19 infections were Knysna, Protea Place, Heidelberg, Ladismith and Albertina.

December 10 2020 - 12:13

Belarus, citing Covid-19 fears, to close land borders as brain drain bites

Belarus will close its land borders to its own citizens later this month to try to combat Covid-19, the government said late on Wednesday, a move one opposition news channel likened to the imposition of a new Soviet-style iron curtain.

Belarus has been rocked by protests since an Aug. 9 presidential election in which incumbent Alexander Lukashenko said victory. His opponents say the vote was rigged and want him to quit.

A government order, published at midnight — 2100 GMT on Wednesday — said the new measures, which include a ban on Belarusians travelling unless their trip is related to work or study, would come into force 10 days from the moment of publication.

December 10 2020 - 11:50

Covid-19 masks being used by SA health workers fail safety tests

Masks being used by thousands of SA health workers to protect them from Covid-19 infection have failed safety tests.

None of the 12 brands of KN95 masks tested at the University of Cape Town offers the protection provided by the “gold standard” N95 mask, according to the results of a study published on Wednesday in the SA Medical Journal.

KN95 masks - mainly made in China - have flooded into SA amid a pandemic-related worldwide shortage of the highly regulated N95 masks.

December 10 2020 - 10:50

Covid-19 second wave: 5 things you need to know from Zweli Mkhize's update on the pandemic

Health minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Wednesday that SA has entered a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

He was giving an update on the state of Covid-19 in SA, as infections continue to climb. SA has registered 828,598 Covid-19 cases since March, and 22,574 deaths.

Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape was recently declared a hotspot by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who announced the introduction of stricter measures there to help mitigate the further spread of the virus. 

December 10 2020 - 09:22

US nears final Covid vaccine review as daily national deaths top 3,200

The US on Wednesday crossed an ominous new threshold of more than 3,200 lives lost to Covid-19 in a single day while public health officials stepped up preparations for a vaccine campaign of historic scope ahead of final regulatory review.

Steady movement towards a vaccine rollout on the eve of a critical review by leading US medical experts comes as Covid-19 caseloads surged alarmingly higher, straining health care systems in some pandemic hot spots to the breaking point.

Intensive care units at hundreds of hospitals in cities and rural communities across the country were reported to be at or near capacity, US department of health and Human Services data showed.

December 10 2020 - 07:40

Driving on holiday this festive season? Here's how to stay safe

Planning to hit the road and go away this festive season? Here's how you can get your much-needed rest and stay safe.

Insurance company Dialdirect has compiled a long list of potentially life-saving tips you should not leave home without.

In a recent online survey the insurer conducted, 75% of holidaymakers said that they would be travelling to their holiday destinations by car.

December 10 2020 - 07:38

POLL | What can be done to avoid more superspreader events during the Covid-19 pandemic?

The Rage Festival continues to draw public reaction as 1,300 teens from Gauteng were urged to quarantine on Tuesday after attending the event, which has been identified as a Covid-19 “superspreader” by the health ministry.

One of the attendees, Laura, not her real name, told TimesLIVE that she knew that attending the event could be risky, but she went ahead because it hadn't been outlawed by the government.

The teenager, who is self-isolating in her bedroom, said about 30 of her friends had also tested positive for Covid-19.

December 10 2020 - 07:34

'Eish, we are in trouble' - Mzansi reacts to second wave of Covid-19 infections

South Africans have reacted with shock, concern and a dash of humour to the announcement of a second wave of Covid-19 infections in SA.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed on Wednesday that the country is officially in a second wave, with 6,079 new cases reported in the latest 24-hour cycle.

He said that the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng were “key drivers of the new wave” and that more caution should be taken to combat the virus.

December 10 2020 - 07:21

As SA enters the second wave, will the country be going back to level 5?

LISTEN | We're well into second Covid-19 wave, confirms Zweli Mkhize as cases spike

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