COVID-19 WRAP | SA approaches 25,000 Covid-19 deaths, with 216 in 24 hours & cases cross 76.39m globally

We are currently in week 51 of 2020. For week 50, the actual number of confirmed cases was 9,857, while for week 51, the number is 10,194.

21 December 2020 - 07:29 By TimesLIVE
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Vehicles queue while medical personnel administer tests for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) at the Bondi Beach drive-through testing centre as the city experiences an outbreak in Sydney, Australia, December 21, 2020.
Vehicles queue while medical personnel administer tests for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) at the Bondi Beach drive-through testing centre as the city experiences an outbreak in Sydney, Australia, December 21, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Loren Elliott

December 21 2020 - 20:36

SA approaches 25,000 Covid-19 deaths, with 216 in 24 hours

SA’s death toll climbed to just shy of 25,000 Covid-19 related deaths, as the total number of confirmed infections moved past 930,000.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize confirmed that 216 new coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of fatalities from the respiratory illness to 24,907.

December 21 2020 - 15:46

ANC cancels January 8 birthday bash

The ANC has cancelled its planned 109th birthday bash, which was due to be held in Limpopo in January.

This comes after the party’s top six officials received a briefing from health minister Zweli Mkhize on the Covid-19 second wave of infections.

The ANC last week controversially decided to go ahead with its January 8 celebrations, despite surging Covid-19 cases in SA.

December 21 2020 - 15:44

World closes borders to Britain as new coronavirus strain breeds panic

More countries closed their borders to Britain on Monday over fears of a highly infectious new coronavirus strain, heightening global panic, causing travel chaos and raising the prospect of UK food shortages just days before the Brexit cliff edge.

India, Poland, Switzerland, Russia and Hong Kong suspended travel for Britons after Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that a mutated variant of the virus up to 70% more infectious had been identified in the country, while Japan and South Korea said they were monitoring the situation.

A slew of countries have already suspended travel, including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Ireland, Belgium, Israel and Canada.

December 21 2020 - 12:20

To fly or not to fly in the face of Covid-19

Hundreds of South Africans hopped on planes and flew thousands of kilometres in the face of the Covid-19 storm to spend time with their families this festive season, despite the government's warning that they do so at their own risk.

December 21 2020 - 12:00

New Covid-19 variant in SA? Yup, and here's what we know so far

Prof Salim Abdool Karim, co-chair of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on the coronavirus, Prof Tulio de Oliveira, director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (Krisp) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and health minister Zweli Mkhize, among other experts, gave a presentation about the new variant, known as SARS-Cov2 or 501.v2 Variant, on Friday.

December 21 2020 - 11:46

Belarus registers Sputnik V vaccine, in first outside Russia - RDIF

he Belarusian health ministry has registered Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, becoming the first country outside Russia to do so, Russia's RDIF sovereign wealth fund said on Monday.

Belarus, a close ally of Russia, began conducting clinical trials using the vaccine on volunteers on October 1 and also reviewed data received during Russia's Phase III clinical trials, the Russian Direct Investment Fund said.


December 21 2020 - 11:37

Prof warns tougher lockdown may be only option if social distancing ignored

There may be little choice but to tighten lockdown regulations unless people adhere to social distancing and health protocols as Covid-19 cases spread exponentially in parts of SA.

That was the stark message from Prof Ian Sanne - a member of the ministerial advisory committee on Covid-19 but speaking in his private capacity - in a radio interview on Monday.

December 21 2020 - 11:07

South Korea's capital to ban gatherings larger than four as coronavirus deaths rise

The national government has resisted calls to impose a strict national lockdown but the governments of Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Incheon city ordered unprecedented restrictions on gatherings from December 23 to January 3.

"We cannot overcome the current crisis without reducing cluster infections that are spreading through private gatherings with families, friends and colleagues," Seoul acting mayor Seo Jung-hyup said at a briefing.

"This is the last chance to break the spread."

December 21 2020 - 09:50

French Health Minister: possible that new Covid variant is circulating in France

French health minister Olivier Veran said on Monday that it was possible a new strain of the Covid virus was circulating in France, although recent tests had not detected it in the country.

"It is entirely possible that the virus is circulating in France," Veran told Europe 1 radio. The new UK variant of the Covid virus appears to be 70% more transmissible, forcing new lockdown measures in Britain and travel restrictions from its European neighbors.


December 21 2020 - 09:02

Knysna and Sedgefield hit hard as holidaymakers cancel bookings

One-third of guesthouses on the Garden Route indicate they have lost at least 50% of their bookings for the festive season.

This is according to a survey run by an online accommodation booking system provider, NightsBridge, following the recent amendment of coronavirus level 1 regulations.

December 21 2020 - 09:01

Flights from Britain to Poland to be halted on Monday night

Flights from Britain to Poland will be suspended starting from midnight on Monday due to concerns over a new strain of coronavirus, a Polish government spokesman said on Twitter.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that the new strain had led to spiralling infection numbers.

His government tightened its Covid-19 restrictions for London and nearby areas, and also reversed plans to ease restrictions over the Christmas period.

Countries including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, El Salvador, Iran and others have placed restrictions on British travellers and flights in response to Johnson's announcement.


December 21 2020 - 08:52

Tougher UK coronavirus curbs may last some time, health minister suggests

The government faced criticism for imposing an effective lockdown on more than 16 million people just days before Christmas, but Matt Hancock said Saturday's decision was taken speedily after new evidence showed the new strain was responsible for spiralling Covid-19 cases.

December 21 2020 - 08:00

'Covid VSOP, not the normal one': Mzansi reacts to new Covid-19 variant

“It is not clear if the second wave has more or less deaths so the severity is still very unclear. We would expect it to be a less severe virus, but we do not have clear evidence at this point. We have not seen any red flags looking at our current death information.” 

December 21 2020 - 07:39

152 deaths related to Covid-19 reported overnight, mostly in Eastern Cape

Health minister Zweli Mkhize on Sunday evening reported 152 deaths related to Covid-19, with the Eastern Cape recording 105 of these.

He said 30 deaths were recorded in the Western Cape, eight in KwaZulu-Natal, five in the Free State, three in Mpumalanga and one in Gauteng.

This brings the country's total to 24,691 deaths.

December 21 2020 - 07:00

Water safety programme for SA kids floundered under Covid-19 lockdown

Covid-19 lockdown has hit the NSRI’s schools programme, with less than half the planned number of children getting water safety lessons this year ahead of the holiday season.

“Our water safety instructors could not teach for most of the year,” said NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon. “We managed to teach before lockdown in March and after level 1 was declared. This year we had hoped to reach 600,000 children with our water safety lessons. But due to Covid-19 we were only able to reach 165,464 children.”

December 21 2020 - 07:00

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