COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 8,700 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours

18 December 2020 - 05:41
By TimesLIVE
Image: REUTERS/Albert Gea Clay "caganers" figures wearing masks, which symbolise defecation and fertilisation of the earth, and are believed to bring prosperity and luck for the coming year, are displayed at the Santa Llucia Christmas market in central Barcelona, during the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain, on December 17 2020.

December 18 2020 - 21:06

SA surges past 900,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 8,700 in 24 hours

SA had officially recorded its 900,000th Covid-19 case, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Friday.

Only 17 other countries have surpassed this grim milestone.

Mkhize reported on Friday that 8,725 new cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of infections to 901,538.

December 18 2020 - 19:19

New variant of Covid-19 found in SA, and is spreading fast

A new variant of Covid-19 has been identified in SA and is circulating widely — but it is not clear yet whether it is more severe than the original variants.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize made this revelation on Friday night, speaking at a briefing alongside top scientists including Prof Salim Abdool Karim and Prof Tulio de Oliveira.

What was particularly concerning, they said, was that the new variant appeared to be spreading significantly quicker than the dominant variants when the coronavirus first started circulating in the country.

December 18 2020 - 17:33

City of Cape Town 1, Bheki Cele 0: Out-of-court settlement allows film crew to work on Camps Bay beach

Two days after police minister Bheki Cele clashed with Cape Town officials and shut down a film crew on Camps Bay beach, the council claimed victory after an out-of-court settlement was reached.

During a walkabout on Wednesday, Cele came across the crew's work. He ordered that they immediately stop working, saying additional activities on beaches were prohibited by the latest Covid-19 disaster management act regulations. This was despite officials telling the minister permits had been obtained for the work.

December 18 2020 - 15:37

Let's bow our heads and Zoom: Virtual communion takes over as churches battle with Covid restrictions

Hunger for the word of God, grief and having easy access to fellowship are among the reasons churches have seen an increase in the number of people who join virtual gatherings.

Most churches introduced virtual services when President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the national state of disaster in March following the outbreak of the coronavirus.

During this period, large gatherings, including church services, were prohibited.

December 18 2020 - 15:17

Christmas cancelled in Zimbabwe due to Covid-19 second wave

The Zimbabwean government has effectively banned Christmas parties due to Covid-19, but defiant revellers say they will celebrate, even if it means hosting bush parties.

Home affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe said police were out in full force to enforce Covid-19 lockdown regulations to save lives as Zimbabwe enters the second wave of the pandemic.

December 18 2020 - 12:50

New regulations for holiday bookings got it wrong, causing resorts and guest houses unnecessary panic

Hotels and guest houses across SA were thrown into panic mode on Tuesday, thanks to a “drafting anomaly” in the revised Disaster Management Act regulations which limited their peak holiday bookings to just 50% capacity.

However, that was corrected late on Thursday with the publishing in the government gazette of a correction in the form of revised level 1 regulations, fixing the offending paragraph.

Tuesday’s version read: “Hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, timeshare facilities, resorts and guest houses are subject to a restriction on the number of persons allowed to not more than 50% of the available accommodation capacity, with patrons observing a distance of at least 1.5m from each other.”

December 18 2020 - 12:47

'There is no John Vuli Gate nas' istocko - there is no stock': Bheki Cele 'bans' dance craze

Police minister Bheki Cele has got wind of the viral #JohnVuliGate dance craze, and warned South Africans about performing the dance in crowds.

Speaking during a law enforcement parade in Limpopo on Thursday, Cele  “banned” South Africans from engaging in the dance craze this festive season.

Cele said dancing in crowds increased the chances of becoming infected with the coronavirus, and said South Africans need to be vigilant.

December 18 2020 - 11:36

DA to lay ethics complaint against Bheki Cele over Camps Bay film shoot shutdown

The DA says it will lay an ethics complaint against police minister Bheki Cele for instructing police officers to shut down a film shoot in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Cele shut the film shoot on Camps Bay beach, saying it was operating in breach of new level 1 lockdown regulations announced on Monday by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In a video filmed by eNCA, Cele said the filming had to be halted immediately, despite the city of Cape Town granting the crew permission to shoot.

December 18 2020 - 11:27

SIU raids North West municipality over PPE corruption

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on Friday raided the Matlosana local municipality in Klerksdorp, in the North West, as part of its investigation into Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement corruption.

“The SIU approached a magistrate for a search and seizure warrant as investigators were experiencing resistance on the part of the municipality. The SIU will not hesitate to press criminal charges against any individual who tries to interfere with its investigation,” the unit said.

December 18 2020 - 06:20

Facing vax: 80% of Africans say they'd take Covid vaccine

Nearly 80% of adults surveyed in 15 African countries said they would take a Covid-19 vaccine if it were safe and effective, scientists reported on Thursday as new infections and deaths rose steeply across the continent.

More than 116,000 new cases of coronavirus and 2,387 deaths — a 17% increase in cases and 8.7% increase in deaths — were reported over the past week on the continent, Africa CDC director Dr John Nkengasong said on Thursday at the organisation's weekly Covid-19 briefing.

Prof Heidi Larson, study co-lead and director of The Vaccine Confidence Project at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, joined him to share the results of the Covid-19 vaccine survey.

December 18 2020 - 05:40

Babies born to Covid-19 mothers have antibodies, Singapore study finds

 All five babies born to women with Covid-19 infection during a study in Singapore have had antibodies against the virus, although the researchers said it is not yet clear what level of protection this may offer.

The findings from a study of 16 women released on Friday also found that most were mildy infected, while more severe reactions occurred in older women with a high body mass index - a trend that is mirrored in the general population.

Of the five who had delivered their babies by the time the study was published, all had antibodies, according to the Singapore Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research Network.