COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 1,102 Covid-19 cases in 24 hours

15 February 2021 - 07:21 By TimesLIVE
A nursery staff member at Little Stars Childcare holds a swab stick as she takes part in the Staffordshire County Council's pilot testing initiative to allow nurseries to test staff weekly amid the spread of the coronavirus disease in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, UK on February 15 2021.
A nursery staff member at Little Stars Childcare holds a swab stick as she takes part in the Staffordshire County Council's pilot testing initiative to allow nurseries to test staff weekly amid the spread of the coronavirus disease in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, UK on February 15 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Carl Recine

February 15 2021 - 21:50

SA records 1,102 Covid-19 cases and 195 deaths in 24 hours

SA recorded 1,102 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Monday that there were now a cumulative 1,492,909 cases across SA. The new cases came from 15,778 tests, at a positivity rate of 6.98%.

Mkhize also reported 195 deaths in the past 24 hours, meaning there are now 48,094 confirmed Covid-19 related fatalities across the country.

February 15 2021 - 21:01

UK's Johnson says world needs pandemic treaty to ensure transparency

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that world powers should clinch a global treaty on pandemics to ensure proper transparency after the coronavirus outbreak which originated in China.

Johnson said he would be keen to agree a global treaty on pandemics where countries agreed to share data, amid British and US concern over access given to a World Health Organization (WHO) mission to China.

Asked by Reuters about any action he wanted to improve transparency, Johnson said: "I think what the world needs to see is a general agreement on how we track data surrounding zoonotic pandemics... and we want a joint agreement on transparency."


February 15 2021 - 20:09

SA's Renergen to start production of ultra-cold Covid-19 vaccine storage

South African natural gas and helium producer Renergen will start production of its helium powered ultra-cold mobile freezer in the next few days and has started discussions to sell the units to logistics companies, it said on Monday.

Companies and governments around the world are working on ways to establish cold-chain storage and delivery systems for vaccines such as the Pfizer Inc and BioNTech shot, which must be shipped and stored at ultra-cold temperatures and can only last at standard fridge temperatures for up to five days.

As a solution, Renergen on Monday launched its prototype cold-chain storage called Cryo-Vacc, which has a temperature range of -150 degrees Celsius to 8C and can store vaccines for periods of up to 30 days without the need for any power supply.


February 15 2021 - 18:44

Zimbabwe relaxes the rules as lockdown extended another two weeks

Zimbabwe has relaxed but extended its Covid-19 lockdown by another two weeks as the country begins its vaccination programme.

Addressing the nation from the State House, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he was doing so to “allow the high number of active cases to recede”.

However, despite high profile deaths, there’s been a marked improvement in recorded cases. As of February 14 there were 68 cases recorded and two deaths.

February 15 2021 - 16:29

England's hotel quarantine system working smoothly for now-minister

England's new Covid-19 hotel quarantine system for arrivals from high-risk countries is running smoothly after it was introduced earlier on Monday, the health minister said.

But concerns persist that queuing times at airports could lengthen if there is not sufficient border staff, and there are worries about passengers arriving from high risk countries mixing with travellers from elsewhere while waiting.

Britain has ramped up its border controls to stop new variants of the coronavirus entering the country. Arrivals into England from 33 "red list" countries, including Brazil and SA, must now spend 10 days quarantined in a hotel room at a cost of 1,750 pounds.


February 15 2021 - 15:11

India to ship Covid-19 vaccines to Canada as diplomatic tension eases

India's Serum Institute will ship Covid-19 vaccines to Canada within a month, its chief executive said on Monday, in a sign a diplomatic row triggered by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's comments on political protests in India was easing.

Trudeau said the months-long protests by farmers on the outskirts of Delhi were concerning, drawing a rebuke from the Indian government which said it was an internal matter.

Last week, however, Trudeau spoke to Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and they discussed the two countries' commitment to democracy.


February 15 2021 - 13:36

Coronavirus and food safety: what the studies conclude

When the Covid-19 pandemic began, not much was known about SARS-CoV-2 and its survival in food, on materials and on surfaces.

Since then several food safety agencies have assessed the risk of potentially acquiring the coronavirus from contaminated food or food packaging. The consensus is that there is no evidence it is a safety risk.

The main route of infection is from person-to-person via contact with one another and from respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing and talking. The coronavirus, therefore, is not considered a foodborne virus.

February 15 2021 - 10:58

Eastern Cape health MEC Sindiswa Gomba to face the music over R10m medical scooters

Under siege Eastern Cape health MEC Sindiswa Gomba is set to appear before the ANC’s provincial top six on Monday, when she is expected to be grilled over her alleged involvement in a controversial R10m plan to procure medical scooters.

DispatchLIVE has seen a confidential letter from ANC provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi inviting Gomba to a meeting on Monday. She is expected to provide answers to the ANC’s provincial working committee, including provincial party chair and premier Oscar Mabuyane.

The letter, dated February 12, reveals the meeting will be held virtually.

February 15 2021 - 08:28

J&J's vaccine implementation study in South Africa gets regulator nod

SA's drugs regulator SAHPRA said on Monday it has approved an implementation study of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine but was still reviewing its full market application.

The implementation study will target inoculating between 350,000 to 500,000 health care workers, with the first batch of 80,000 doses expected to arrive this week, President Ramaphosa told lawmakers on Thursday.

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) said J&J has not yet submitted an application for emergency use authorisation of its vaccine, as Africa's worst hit country with coronavirus infections and deaths has yet to start its mass inoculation campaign.


February 15 2021 - 08:03

Thailand finds South African Covid-19 variant in quarantine

Thailand reported 143 new coronavirus infections on Monday and in quarantine detected its first case of the highly contagious Covid-19 variant first found in SA, its coronavirus taskforce said.

Two new deaths were reported, taking fatalities to 82, with overall cases at 24,714, the majority of which have come in the past two months.

The South African variant was found in a Thai man who had travelled from Tanzania and was undergoing the mandatory quarantine for all arrivals from abroad, the taskforce said at a briefing.

SA halted the planned rollout last week of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine, which Thailand will use for its mass immunisation programme, after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection.


February 15 2021 - 07:21

Brazil reports 24,759 new coronavirus cases, 713 deaths

Brazil recorded 24,759 additional confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 713 more deaths from Covid-19, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

Brazil has registered more than 9.8 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 239,245, according to ministry data.