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COVID-19 WRAP | South Africa records 12, 601 new Covid-19 cases

04 January 2021 - 07:36 By TimesLIVE
A student from the Sovannaphumi school wearing a face mask looks on as Cambodia reopen schools and museums after months of shutdown due to surging of the coronavirus disease in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on January 4 2021.
A student from the Sovannaphumi school wearing a face mask looks on as Cambodia reopen schools and museums after months of shutdown due to surging of the coronavirus disease in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on January 4 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Cindy Liu

January 04 2020 - 21:23

Government to appeal court ruling that tobacco ban was unconstitutional

The government will appeal the Western Cape High Court judgment that the ban on the trade of tobacco products during the hard lockdown — aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 — was unnecessary.

The case was brought to court by tobacco traders, including British American Tobacco SA (Batsa), after the sale of tobacco products were banned during the hard lockdown. The sale of tobacco products was allowed again only in mid-August when the country moved to level 2 of the lockdown.

January 04 2020 - 21:11

SA passes 30,000 confirmed Covid-19 deaths, with 434 in just one day

SA passed another grim Covid-19 milestone on Monday night as the death toll from the respiratory illness passed 30,000.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said in a statement that 434 deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours, taking the national death toll to 30,011.

Of the newly recorded deaths, 157 were in the Western Cape, 133 were in the Eastern Cape, 71 in KwaZulu-Natal, 36 in Gauteng, 25 in the North West, seven in Limpopo and two in the Free State.

January 04 2020 - 18:36

ANC eThekwini councillor says 5G towers spread Covid-19, and 'whites have vaccine'

An ANC councillor in eThekwini is in hot water for suggesting there is no Covid-19, that 5G cellphone towers are killing people and that white people have already been vaccinated.

In an audio clip circulating on social media, ward 24 councillor Sifiso Mngadi says: “As leaders of eThekwini we need to take action against this disease. It is not Covid. We are getting this thing from 5G towers, [some] installed during this period in preparation of the second wave.

January 04 2020 - 18:05

Consider anti-parasitic to avoid possible third Covid-19 wave, health minister urged

A politician and a group of scientists have separately thrown their weight behind a call for an anti-parasitic drug, being used to combat the transmission of Covid-19 in some quarters internationally, to be studied and considered for human consumption in SA.

The drug, Ivermectin, which was hailed as a revolutionary drug in the 1980s and works by paralysing and killing parasites including lice and worms in livestock, has been gaining traction as a “miracle cure” for Covid-19 patients.

January 04 2020 - 16:15

Santam finally agrees to assess business interruption claims

Insurance giant Santam announced on Monday that it will start assessing claims for those of its clients who had been paying for hospitality and leisure policies, which include business interruption (BI).

The insurer stressed that it will only be assessing those policies which it rejected in the months after the national lockdown of late March 2020, and are now affected by the recent judgment in the Western Cape High Court in the case between Santam and Ma-Afrika Hotels and The Stellenbosch Kitchen, and the judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in the case between Café Chameleon and Guardrisk Limited.

January 04 2020 - 14:54

'Covid-19 is real': Nathi Mankayi opens up about losing both parents, while Zodwa Wabantu mourns aunt

Award-winning singer Nathi Mankayi has pleaded with South Africans to take the Covid-19 pandemic seriously after both his parents succumbed to the virus.

Meanwhile socialite Zodwa Wabantu was left heartbroken after losing her aunt on Monday morning. 

With the increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases in SA, the two celebrities shared their experiences of loss. 

January 04 2020 - 14:42

'We were caught napping': Experts doubt government will get early Covid-19 vaccines

SA's plan to acquire an initial supply of Covid-19 vaccine by February is improbable and not feasible, say health experts.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize outlined the country's vaccine rollout plans on Sunday evening and said there was a push to get vaccines by February.

Mkhize said the acquisition of these early vaccines would depend on the success of bilateral negotiations between the government and various companies.

January 04 2021 - 14:29

UK scientists worried vaccines may not work on SA Covid-19 variant

Scientists are not fully confident that Covid-19 vaccines will work on a new variant of the coronavirus found in SA, ITV's political editor said on Monday, citing an unidentified scientific adviser to the British government.

Both Britain and SA have discovered new, more infectious variants in the coronavirus in recent weeks that have driven a surge in cases. British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday he was now very worried about the strand found in SA.

Scientists including BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin and John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, have said they are testing the vaccines on the new variants and say they could make any required tweaks in about six weeks.

January 04 2021 - 13:23

Rumours that we're going into level 5 are fake news, says presidency

The government has no plans to take SA into a hard lockdown.

Rumours circulating on social media suggesting the national coronavirus command council (NCCC), in response to the rising numbers of Covid-19 infections, will meet to discuss a stricter lockdown have been dismissed by government.

“That is fake news,” presidency spokesperson Nonceba Mhlauli told TimesLIVE.

To mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on December 28 that SA would into lockdown level 3.

Under adjusted lockdown level 3, all indoor and outdoor gatherings were immediately prohibited.

January 04 2021 - 11:22

Eastern Cape runs out of coffins as Covid-19 toll soars above rest of SA

Since the first reported case of Covid-19 in the Eastern Cape 10 months ago, more than 7,400 people have died in the province.

January 04 2021 - 11:20

UK rolls out AstraZeneca vaccine, touts British science triumph

Britain began vaccinating its population on Monday with the Covid-19 shot developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, touting its position as the first Western country to roll out an inoculation programme against the coronavirus.

Britain, which is rushing to vaccinate its population faster than the US and the rest of Europe in a bid to put the pandemic behind it, is the first country to roll out the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Last year it rolled out the Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech vaccine.

January 04 2021 - 11:09

WATCH | Durban grave diggers prepare burial sites for Covid-19 victims

A video of grave diggers preparing seven burial sites at a Durban Muslim cemetery for people who lost their lives as a result of Covid-19 is a grim reminder of the reality of the second wave of infections in eThekwini, one of the hotspots in KwaZulu-Natal.

The footage was captured on Sunday by a mourner at a cemetery in the Overport area.

The video shows the grave diggers preparing seven graves while others watch.

In the background, fresh graves — mainly for people have succumbed to the coronavirus — can be seen.

January 04 2021 - 09:32

Mzwandile Masina's Covid-19 plea — 'Hospitals are full, our front line workers are overstretched'

Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina has again urged residents to ensure their safety and that of those around them as SA continues to battle the second wave of coronavirus infections.

“Please keep safe fellow South Africans. Hospitals are full and our front line workers are overstretched,” Masina tweeted on Sunday morning.

January 04 2021 - 08:17

IN QUOTES | Zweli Mkhize says expedition and delivery of vaccine are 'top priorities'

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday the expedition and delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine is among government's top priorities.

The minister was joined by a panel of experts during a press briefing in which he outlined the Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan as SA battles the second wave of infections.

The minister said SA will roll out the vaccine in three phases to health workers, essential workers and people with comorbidities. SA is aiming to vaccinate 67% of the population by the end of the year, with vaccines for 10% of the population having been secured through the Covax programme.

January 04 2021 - 08:15

'There is a lot of fighting behind the scenes': Zweli Mkhize on race to secure Covid-19 vaccines

Government's plan to roll out Covid-19 vaccines will see recipients getting the jab at work, through outreach programmes and general practitioners and at vaccination centres.

The department of health outlined its vaccine rollout strategy in a briefing on Sunday evening, explaining government was targeting 67% of the population in its strategy to establish herd immunity.

Director-general of health Dr Anban Pillay said phase one of the vaccine rollout, covering front line health workers, would see recipients vaccinated at workplaces.

January 04 2021 - 08:14

'Stop spreading fake news': KZN premier slams Covid-19 conspiracy theorists

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala has slammed Covid-19 conspiracy theorists and non-believers, saying they should invest their time doing research instead of spreading lies.

Zikalala was speaking at the provincial coronavirus command council media briefing on Sunday, where he shared an update on the Covid-19 situation in the province.

To date, the province has one of the most active Covid-19 cases in the country. 

January 04 2021 - 07:41

Zweli Mkhize spells out SA's Covid-19 vaccine rollout plans

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday the government was committed to rolling out vaccines with urgency to establish herd immunity against Covid-19.

Speaking during a virtual public briefing to outline the health department's Covid-19 vaccine rollout strategy, he said the vaccine had to be made available to all South Africans, starting with the most vulnerable and health workers.

Mkhize said government was targeting 67% of the population in its strategy to establish herd immunity.

January 04 2021 - 07:39

Sisters die of Covid-related illness within days of each other

Two sisters aged 19 and 27 from the Eastern Cape have died within days of each other from Covid-19-related illnesses.

Bridget and Samantha Stander from Cradock near Port Elizabeth join a growing list of young adults to succumb to the disease.

News of their death was shared on Saturday by Union High School in Graaff Reinet, where Bridget matriculated in 2019.

January 04 2021 - 07:34

'We're fairly confident SA will have vaccines in quarter one': Anban Pillay