COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 14, 410 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours

05 January 2021 - 07:44 By TimesLIVE
A resident at Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitation, a nursing home facility, receives the coronavirus disease vaccine from Walgreens Pharmacists in Brooklyn, New York, US, on January 4 2020.
A resident at Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitation, a nursing home facility, receives the coronavirus disease vaccine from Walgreens Pharmacists in Brooklyn, New York, US, on January 4 2020.

January 05 2021 - 21:04

More than 500 new Covid-19 deaths in one day as SA passes active case landmark

SA hit a landmark for active Covid-19 cases on Tuesday night.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that there were 176,356 total active cases across the country. This was 4,591 cases more than the 171,765 announced on Monday night.

Before Tuesday night, the previous high of announced active cases was 173,590 — recorded on July 20. Less than two months ago, on November 12, the number of active cases was as low as 33,753.

January 05 2021 - 15:56

African Union wants to meet in person, despite Covid-19 pandemic

Despite continuing alarm across the world, and in many African states, the African Union (AU) has suggested its 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly be convened physically in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

However, the body said it will consider other options - including a digital session - should this not be possible.

January 05 2021 - 15:21

Western Cape imports oxygen as second wave of Covid-19 heads for peak

The Western Cape has begun importing oxygen from outside the province to help deal with the peak of its Covid-19 epidemic, provincial head of health Keith Cloete said on Tuesday.

In addition, military doctors and nurses are being seconded to help cope with the increase in hospital admissions, and military transport is being used to help transfer patients to facilities.

Speaking at the province's first Covid-19 media conference of 2021, Cloete said the interventions were required to help bolster health-care infrastructure, which is holding steady in the face of a second wave of Covid-19 cases — expected to peak this week.

January 05 2021 - 14:27

Fita worried appeal against tobacco sales could trigger another ban

The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association has expressed concern about the government's intention to appeal against the decision of the Western Cape High Court in December, which set aside the ban on cigarette sales.

The association, which represents 80% of licensed cigarette manufacturers in Southern Africa, said it felt this step by the government was regrettable given the irreparable harm on the tobacco industry during the five-month ban on the sale of tobacco products.

Fita had failed in its application, before the high court in Pretoria in June, to set aside the regulation banning the sale of tobacco products. A full bench held that cigarettes were not essential.

January 05 2021 - 14:06

Khanyi Mbau on booze ban: 'Many cannot earn a living to support their families, save their livelihood'

Reality TV star and businesswoman Khanyi Mbau has urged the government to consider allowing the sale of alcohol for a limited number of days per week to save the liquor industry and the livelihoods of its employees.

“The reason that I'm raising this is because it's January, schools are about to reopen, there are families, people that work in the liquor industry that cannot go back to work, earn a living to support their families and make sure that their children go to school,” she said in a video posted on Twitter.

Khanyi, who is also in the alcohol industry and owns a gin brand, said she is worried about her employees.

January 05 2021 - 13:44

Provide more vaccine info or we'll see you in court, IRR warns Zweli Mkhize

The SA Institute of Race Relations (IRR) wants more details on SA’s Covid-19 vaccine strategy.

The institute has demanded that health minister Zweli Mkhize provide extra details or face court action.

In a four-page letter to Mkhize on Tuesday, the NGO said it had found Mkhize’s plan wanting. Mkhize has until the end of business day on January 11 to respond, according to the letter written by the IRR’s lawyers.

January 05 2021 - 13:20

Here is why Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says SA must buy 'exactly one' Covid-19 vaccine

EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has split social media with his latest comments about the Covid-19 vaccine, suggesting SA buys “exactly one vaccine” and replicate it.

On Monday, Ndlozi said the vaccine could be copied and produced in bulk for people in the country.

“We must buy exactly one vaccine, copy it and reproduce it in bulk for ourselves in SA. Medical patents during such a deadly pandemic are completely wrong, inhuman and must be rejected by all of humanity. No patent on any vaccine — put lives before profit,” he said.

January 05 2021 - 13:19

ANC to smash myths about 5G and other Covid-19 conspiracies

The ANC will abandon its dismissive approach to conspiracies about Covid-19 and plans to create platforms to educate its members about the coronavirus.

This comes after one of its councillors, Sfiso Mngadi in eThekwini, made outrageous claims, saying there is no Covid-19, that 5G cellphone towers are making people ill and that white people have already been vaccinated against the illness.

January 05 2021 - 12:49

Dlamini-Zuma on why lockdown ban on tobacco sales was rational

The high court in Cape Town erred in not finding that Regulation 45, used by the government to ban the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products during the initial stages of the lockdown, was rational.

This is one of 13 grounds co-operative governance & traditional affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma raised as she appealed against the judgment made in December, which held that the ban under Regulation 45 of the Disaster Management Act was irrational.

British American Tobacco SA and tobacco traders challenged the regulation after the sale of tobacco products was banned during levels 5, 4 and 3 of the lockdown.

The sale of tobacco products was allowed again only in mid-August, when the country moved to lockdown level 2.

In its judgment, the court found Regulation 45 could not stand up to constitutional scrutiny. The judgment found the regulation limited smokers' rights to human dignity because it denied them the choice of buying tobacco products.

January 05 2021 - 12:10

Liquor association warns of fake booze after massive bottle cap robbery

The SA Liquor Brandowners Association (Salba) has warned the public to avoid illegal booze after an armed robbery at one of its member company’s production facility in Durban.

According to the association, thousands of bottle caps were stolen at its facility on December 30, two days into the current alcohol sales ban during level 3 lockdown.

“One of the illicit alcohol practices is to refill used, branded bottles with illegal alcohol, reseal them and sell that to consumers. This practice poses a major health risk to consumers.”

January 05 2021 - 11:58

Durban mayor Mxolisi Kaunda tests positive for Covid-19

eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda has gone into isolation after testing positive for Covid-19.

According to a statement released by the city, Kaunda is isolating at home and “remains in good health”.

Kaunda urged residents to avoid “unnecessary movements and organising super-spreader events”.

January 05 2021 - 11:35

Durban community body sets up 20-bed facility for overwhelmed hospital within hours

A Durban community organisation set up a 20-bed treatment area on the grounds of an overwhelmed private hospital in eight hours after the facility appealed for help.

Muslims for Humanity reacted to a distress call from the Ahmed Al-Kadi Hospital which needed to urgently set up a Covid-19 reception and receiving facility after critically ill patients were forced to wait in their cars as the demand for beds increased.

Muslims for Humanity roped in community- based organisation Natal Memon Jamaat (NMJ) to assist with the project.

January 05 2021 - 11:05

Phumla Williams slams claims the presidency allows false 'family meeting' rumours to spread online

Government spokesperson Phumla Williams has denied claims that the presidency has allowed fake reports about planned addresses to the nation by President Cyril Ramaphosa to thrive on social media. 

“Actually, the presidency issues an official statement when he is scheduled to address the nation,” she tweeted on Monday.

Williams said she was inundated with calls from people who wanted to know whether Ramaphosa would be addressing the nation on Monday after a fake notice which purported to be from the presidency went viral on Twitter.

January 05 2021 - 10:58

'Covid is affecting the kids too' — Rachel Kolisi on her family's coronavirus battle

Rachel Kolisi, businesswoman and wife of Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, says two more family members have tested positive for Covid-19 as she remains in isolation after contracting the virus.

Their youngest daughter Keziah and Siya's sister Liphelo have also joined over one million South Africans who have been infected by the virus since it first hit SA in March last year.

Keziah, says Rachel in an Instagram post, isn't showing any symptoms while Liphelo is battling “full-on adult symptoms”.

January 05 2021 - 08:57

Parents worry as crowded Kenyan schools reopen after coronavirus shutdown

Hundreds of children formed an orderly queue that snaked through Nairobi's biggest slum Kibera on Monday, waiting to enter classrooms for the first time since March, when the government closed schools after Kenya reported its first Covid-19 case.

The country is the last in East Africa to fully reopen its schools. Children in grades four, eight and 12 returned to class in October so they could prepare for exams postponed amid the pandemic.

The World Health Organisation and the UN children’s agency UNICEF say prolonged school closures due to Covid-19 present many risks for children in poor countries. Higher rates of teenage pregnancy, poor nutrition, and permanent drop outs from school are among the dangers.

January 05 2021 - 08:55

Long Covid: who is at risk?

For most people, infection with SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes Covid-19 — leads to mild, short-term symptoms, acute respiratory illness, or possibly no symptoms at all.

But some people have long-lasting symptoms after their infection — this has been dubbed “long Covid”.

Scientists are still researching long Covid. It’s not well understood, though our knowledge about it is growing. Here I take a look at what we’ve learnt about it so far — who is at risk, how common it is and what its effects are.

January 05 2020 - 08:03

England goes into new Covid-19 lockdown as cases surge

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday ordered England into a new national lockdown to try to slow a surge in Covid-19 cases that threatens to overwhelm parts of the health system before a vaccine programme reaches a critical mass.

Johnson said a new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus was spreading at great speed and urgent action was needed to slow it down.

“As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from Covid than any time since the start of the pandemic,” Johnson said in a televised address to the country as he ditched his regional approach to fighting the pandemic.

January 05 2020 - 08:01

All systems go for matric marking

Matric marking centres opened their doors on Monday as marking of the 2020 final exam papers is set to start by Thursday nationwide.

And while some grade 12 teachers are ready and raring to put pen to paper, some are filled with anxiety as they will be entering unfamiliar territory amid the second wave of Covid-19.

January 05 2020 - 07:38

'Be very suspicious of that undereducated capitalist mafia called Bill Gates': Mbuyiseni Ndlozi

January 05 2020 - 07:35

How effective will the vaccine be seeing that SA has another Covid-19 variant? 

January 05 2021 - 07:30

POLL | Will you get the Covid-19 vaccine when it reaches SA?

A Covid-19 vaccine can be expected in SA between March and the end of the year.

This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who told Bloomberg this week that Pfizer and BioNTech offered to supply Africa with 50 million vaccines for health workers in 2021.

According to the presidency, the cost of Pfizer’s vaccines are “prohibitive”.