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COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | Australia urges calm over AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine after South Africa suspends use

08 February 2021 - 07:29 By TimesLIVE
Police arrest an anti-Covid-19 lockdown protester after assault on journalist at Fish Hoek Beach in Cape Town at the weekend.
Police arrest an anti-Covid-19 lockdown protester after assault on journalist at Fish Hoek Beach in Cape Town at the weekend.
Image: Esa Alexander

February 08 2021 - 22:38

SA records 1,376 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, the lowest since November 16

There were just 1,376 new cases of Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the lowest daily increase since November 8.

This means that there are now 1,477,511 confirmed infections countrywide. The last time SA recorded so few infections in 24 hours was on November 16 last year, when 1,245 cases were recorded.

February 08 2021 - 21:17

Ramaphosa extends army deployment for another month at cost of R64.7m

President Cyril Ramaphosa has again extended the deployment of the army in the fight against Covid-19, again by another month.

Ramaphosa informed parliament's presiding officers last week of the extension of the employment of 2,122 defence force members until February 28.

February 08 2021 - 17:56

Half a million doses of J&J vaccine available soon to SA health workers


Scientists have about 500,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine ready to offer health-care workers countrywide in an “implementation study”, J&J co-principal investigator Prof Linda-Gail Bekker said on Monday.

They are planning to start distribution of the vaccine in a week.

The J&J vaccine has proven to be the most effective against the dominant variant in SA to date. A single shot reduces the risk of mild and moderate disease by 57%, and of severe disease and death by 80%, according to recent study results.

February 08 2021 - 17:54

East London business fined R5,000 as partygoers ignore Covid rules

Managers of an East London establishment have been arrested after a video surfaced showing patrons ignoring lockdown regulations.

DispatchLIVE reported on Monday that Buffalo City metro took action against the establishment.

Metro spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said the management had admitted to contravening the regulations and paid a R5,000 fine for exceeding the maximum number of customers allowed on the premises. This was after they were charged and released.

February 08 2021 - 17:53

Lockdown protester locked up after 'shouting and swearing' in court

The man arrested during a weekend protest against the national lockdown will be sent for mental evaluation after swearing and shouting in court on Monday.

Craig Peiser was arrested during a protest at Fish Hoek beach on Saturday after removing a television journalist's face mask. He was subsequently charged with assault and contravening the country's Covid-19 regulations.

February 08 2021 - 14:41

SA hopes to get some of J&J's one-shot Covid-19 vaccines this week

SA hopes to get some doses of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine around the end of this week, a senior health official said on Monday, after halting use of the AstraZeneca vaccine because of disappointing trial data.

J&J's  vaccine was a good fit at this stage, health ministry deputy director-general Anban Pillay told state broadcaster SABC, but did not say how many doses the country would soon receive.

Previously, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country had secured nine million J&J doses that were due to start arriving in the second quarter.

February 08 2021 - 14:11

Almost a year later, Covid-19 continues to bleed Durban dry

The eThekwini municipality has only 27 days of cash in hand.

The city is now offering incentives such as writing off all interest on debt and allowing customers to pay over 24 months without interest.

eThekwini municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the main reason for the drop in cash on hand was due to the decrease in collection rates from March to June last year, when the city saw collections drop to an all-time low.

February 08 2021 - 12:13

DA leader John Steenhuisen tears into President Cyril Ramaphosa in his ‘True State of the Nation’ address

DA leader John Steenhuisen has torn into President Cyril Ramaphosa over the state of the country and his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In his “True State of the Nation” address, Steenhuisen criticised Ramaphosa for the government’s handling of the pandemic and blamed him for the closure of businesses affected by the lockdown regulations.

He also slammed the president for ANC cadre deployment, which he blamed for the country’s financial woes. 

February 08 2021 - 11:42

Net closing in on those who unlawfully benefitted from PPE procurement and Ters, vows Cyril Ramaphosa

Those implicated in the unlawful procurement of Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies in the country's fight against the coronavirus were hell-bent on defrauding the state, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.  

His sentiments come days after the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) released a report on its investigation into allegations of corruption involving PPE in state institutions.

The unit subsequently referred 38 cases to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for prosecution for fraud, corruption and contravention of supply chain policies.

February 08 2021 - 11:20

SA halts AstraZeneca shots, but UK says it prevents Covid-19 deaths

South Africa halted the rollout of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccinations after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild infection from one variant, but Britain said the shot still stopped death and serious illness.

The novel coronavirus has killed 2.3 million people and turned normal life upside down for billions, but new variants of the virus have raised fears that the world could be locked in a cat-and-mouse battle for years with the pathogen.

Researchers from the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Oxford said the AstraZeneca vaccine provided minimal protection against mild or moderate infection from the so-called South African variant among young people.

February 08 2021 - 08:30

Alan Winde condemns ‘unacceptable behaviour’ of Fish Hoek protester

Western Cape premier Alan Winde has condemned the assault of a journalist by protesters at the Fish Hoek beach in Cape Town at the weekend.

A group of residents gathered at the beach under the banner “we are more” to demand an end to the national lockdown. One man allegedly pulled off the face mask worn by eNCA reporter Monique Mortlock after she asked to interview him.

Winde said the abuse and violation of Covid-19 protocols will not be tolerated.

February 08 2021 - 08:29

Some schools may not be ready to reopen safely, says DA

With only one week to go before public schools reopen for the 2021 academic year, the DA is not convinced all schools in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal the Eastern Cape will be ready.

After oversight visits in recent weeks, the party said many schools have poor sanitation and access to clean water, saying this was a gross violation of human rights and “beyond shameful”.

After an oversight visit by the parliamentary portfolio committee on basic education, DA spokesperson on basic education Baxolile Nodada said in KwaZulu-Natal, 120,000 pupils who are eligible for pupil transport do not have access to the state-funded transportation. They had to walk “ridiculous distances to schools, and in many instances this is a cause of the massive dropout rate throughout the years of schooling”.

February 08 2021 - 07:38

Healthcare workers will not be vaccine guinea pigs — health experts affirm

Healthcare workers will not be used as guinea pigs when the country rolls out its Covid-19 vaccination programme next week.

That is the message from one of the country’s leading scientists and president of the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Prof Glenda Gray and health minister Zweli Mkhize as the country gears itself for its biggest vaccination rollout.

After disappointing news on Sunday that the AstraZeneca vaccine that arrived in SA last week is not effective against mild to moderate disease caused by the dominant Covid-19 variant in SA, known as 501Y.V2, it has emerged that health workers will from next week be vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Pfizer vaccines.

February 08 2021 - 07:28

Australia urges calm over AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine after South Africa suspends use

 Australia on Monday moved to reassure its citizens over the efficacy of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine after South Africa suspended use of the shot because data showed it offered limited protection against a new strain of the virus.

Citing data that showed the AstraZeneca vaccine reduced mild-to-moderate COVID-19 by 22%, South Africa said on Sunday it would put on hold the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

But Australia's Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said the vaccine is effective in its primary objective.

"There is currently no evidence to indicate a reduction in the effectiveness of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines in preventing severe disease and death. That is the fundamental task, to protect the health," Hunt told reporters in Canberra.

Australia is expected approve the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine within days.


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