COVID-19 WRAP | More than 8,000 new cases in SA, with 300 more deaths

24 January 2021 - 06:00 By TimesLIVE
Doctor Margareth Dalcolmo receives the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine at FioCruz Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Doctor Margareth Dalcolmo receives the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine at FioCruz Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Image: REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

January 24 2021 - 22:18

More than 8,000 new cases recorded in SA, with 300 more deaths

SA identified 8,147 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, with 300 more deaths being recorded.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 1,412,986. The total number of deaths stands at 40,874.

January 24 2021 - 21:50

ANC NEC lekgotla: SA to invest in vaccine science

The country has to immediately start preparing for future pandemics.

This will include investing in its own vaccine development programme.

This is according to the ANC national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla which ended its weekend-long meeting on Sunday.

January 24 2021 - 21:19

Mexico's death toll from Covid-19 set to pass grim milestone of 150,000

Mexico is set to surpass 150,000 deaths from Covid-19, one of the world's highest death tolls, a Reuters tally shows.

Its death count is closing the gap with that of India, a country with a population several times larger. Only the US and Brazil have reported higher numbers.

Infections and deaths hit several records in January, official data showed.

The confirmed death toll in Mexico had risen to 149,084 by Saturday, and the number of infections to more than 1.75 million, authorities reported.

- Reuters

January 24 2021 - 21:01

Bheki Cele orders top cop probe into Mpumalanga premier mask slip

Police minister Bheki Cele has ordered an investigation into the circumstances around Mpumalanga premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane not wearing a mask at the funeral of late minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu.

Cele reminded all South Africans that the wearing of a mask in public is mandatory for every person under the adjusted alert level 3 lockdown regulations.

January 24 2021 - 20:04

Spanish woman who 'died' of Covid returned 10 days later - report

An 85-year-old woman believed by her family to have died from the coronavirus surprised her relatives by returning to her care home nine days after they were told she had been buried, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

After a mix-up over names, the family of Rogelia Blanco were informed that the pensioner died of Covid-19 on January 13 and her funeral was the next day, the La Voz de Galicia newspaper said. Due to coronavirus protocols, they were unable to attend.

So when she arrived fit and well back at the care home in Xove, northern Spain, on Saturday where her husband Ramón Blanco also lived, he was overwhelmed, the paper said.

January 24 2021 - 19:49

Egypt begins Covid-19 vaccination drive with front-line medical staff

Egypt began vaccinating front-line medical staff against Covid-19 on Sunday using the jab developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm).

The vaccine will be provided free of charge first to all doctors and front-line workers treating coronavirus patients, then to other medical workers, senior citizens and people with chronic illnesses, health minister Hala Zayed said.

"As soon as each citizen registers, they will take their turn. But you cannot set a timeframe for when this will be, and even the countries that have set a timeframe have not been able to fulfil it, not because they have a problem, but because of the global production issue," Zayed said, adding that Egypt was on track to approve three other vaccines for use.

Egypt has recorded a total of 161,143 cases, including 8,902 deaths, since the pandemic started. 

- Reuters

January 24 2021 - 18:15

Italy reports 299 new coronavirus deaths, 11,629 cases

Italy reported 299 coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday, down from 488 the day before, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 11,629 from 13,331.Some 216,211 tests for Covid-19 were carried out in the past day, against a previous 286,331, the health ministry said.

Italy has now registered 85,461 deaths linked to Covid-19 since last February, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the sixth-highest in the world. The country has reported 2.459 million cases.

Patients in hospital with Covid-19 - not including those in intensive care - stood at 21,309 on Sunday, compared with 21,403 a day earlier.

- Reuters

January 24 2021 - 17:34

Trump administration had no Covid-19 vaccine distribution plan — White House

There was no distribution plan for the coronavirus vaccine set up by the Trump administration as the virus raged in its last months in office, new President Joe Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on Sunday.

“The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House,” Klain said on NBC's “Meet the Press”.

January 24 2021 - 16:50

Zambia allocated 8.7 million Covid-19 vaccines from AU

Zambia has been allocated 8.7 million doses of the 270 million Covid-19 vaccines secured this month by the AU, and this may rise to 25 million doses by December 2021, the Zambian mission at the AU said on Sunday.

SA President Cyril Ramaphosa, who serves as AU chair, has said the vaccines secured by the AU will be supplied by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, through the Serum Institute of India, and Johnson & Johnson.

They will be allocated according to countries' population size.

January 24 2021 - 15:02

UFS preparing protocol for clinical trial of Ivermectin for Covid-19

The University of the Free State says it is in the process of preparing a clinical trial protocol to determine the efficacy of Ivermectin in the fight against Covid-19.

This is being handled by FARMOVS, a wholly-owned clinical research company of the university, together with several medical and scientific experts at the university.

The clinical trial protocol will be for a randomised, controlled study according to the requirements of the legal professions, to submit it for approval to the relevant national regulatory authority.

January 24 2021 - 11:52

UK has 77 cases of South African Covid variant, nine of Brazilian, minister says

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday that 77 cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 had been found in the UK, all of them connected to travel from South Africa and under close observation.

Hancock also said there was a very low number of cases of the Brazilian variant, 9 at the latest count, and those were also being closely monitored.

"There are 77 known cases of the South African variant here in the UK," Hancock said on BBC television.

—Reuters

January 24 2021 - 09:45

KLM to keep long haul flights as Covid testing demands are softened

Dutch airline KLM will keep operating long haul flights, including for vaccine distribution, after agreeing with the government on softer demands for returning aircrews to carry out rapid Covid-19 tests.

The Dutch arm of Air France-KLM said earlier in the week it would cancel all its 270 weekly long-haul flights to the Netherlands as a result of new Covid-19 rules, requiring passengers and crew to show evidence of a negative rapid coronavirus test taken just before departure.

KLM at the time said this would make it impossible to keep flying to countries with a high risk of coronavirus infections, as it would risk having to leave crew behind.

—Reuters

January 24 2021 - 08:41

New Zealand health officials probe probable community Covid-19 case

New Zealand health officials said on Sunday they were investigating a probable community coronavirus case, the country's first in months.

New Zealand, one of the most successful developed nations in controlling the spread of the pandemic, last recorded a community coronavirus transmission on Nov. 18, according to information on the Health Ministry website."

Health officials are currently investigating the case," the health ministry said in a statement.

—Reuters

January 24 2021 - 06:15

Fear of the vaccine jab infects frontline health-care workers

Nurse Chantel Williams* will be among the first to be offered a Covid-19 vaccine, but she says she will refuse it.

“I see patients dying from the virus in our hospital every day so I know how vicious the virus is. But I’m not putting myself on the line to be vaccinated first. It is too risky,” the Cape Town mother of three told the Sunday Times this week.

“I feel that the process of developing the vaccines was rushed and I am suspicious of the science behind it. I am the breadwinner in my family and should I develop any adverse side effects my children will have no one to support them.”

January 24 2021 - 06:10

Vaccine delay 'means third killer wave', warns medical experts

SA's delayed Covid-19 vaccination programme means a third wave of the virus in three to four months will cut another swath through high-risk groups.

"It seems to me that the government only started planning in early January after a media backlash," said vaccinologist professor Shabir Madhi, who was among a group of experts dropped from the Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee (MAC) in September.

"Even after this [second wave] resurgence dies down we'll get another one, and vaccine deployment will be too late for high-risk groups then."

January 24 2021 - 06:05

'Don't let that happen to us': Doctor's worst fears realised as Covid flight ends in tragedy

A transplant team regarded by colleagues as the best in SA had prayed for years they would not be involved in a helicopter crash.

"We always said, 'God, please don't let that happen to us, because we can't afford it in terms of manpower,'" said Dr Paul Williams, a critical-care specialist who worked with the team at Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg.

On Thursday, shortly after one of the team had delayed their latest mercy mission to intubate cabinet minister Jackson Mthembu - who died shortly afterwards from Covid-19 - their worst fear was realised.

January 24 2021 - 06:00

Is it safe to have the Covid-19 jab?

People fear Covid-19. But many South Africans are also scared of the vaccines that have been proved to offer protection against the virus.

An infodemic of false information, particularly on social media, has targeted those who are "vaccine hesitant". Here are answers to 10 of the common fears.

#1: Covid-19 vaccines have been developed too fast and are too new to be safe

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