COVID-19 WRAP | Covid-19: What leaders say during a pandemic matters

16 February 2021 - 07:30 By TimesLIVE
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A elderly woman receives a booster shot of her vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at an assisted living facility, in Netanya, Israel.
A elderly woman receives a booster shot of her vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at an assisted living facility, in Netanya, Israel.
Image: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo/File Photo

February 16 2021 - 21:07

J&J vaccines arrive in SA on Tuesday night

The first batch of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines will arrive at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday night.

Government sources confirmed that the vaccine had been approved by the South African Health Products Authority.

“The consignment will be moved to a secure facility in Gauteng before being distributed overnight to the various vaccine centres in all provinces. Government remains committed to saving lives and protecting livelihoods. All citizens are reminded that adhering to health protocols together with the vaccine remain our best defence against the virus,” the government said in a statement.

February 16 2021 - 18:14

SA will have enough doses for all who need a vaccination, says Zweli Mkhize

The government has identified 20 vaccination centres across SA's nine provinces to inoculate 80,000 health-care workers over the next two weeks, as the country begins its Covid-19 vaccine rollout this week.

This is according to health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, who on Tuesday was addressing a joint sitting of parliament to debate President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address (Sona).

He provided an outline of how the distribution would work. This as the Covid-19 death toll reached 48,094 people.

February 16 2021 - 17:21

'There will be no wasteful or fruitless expenditure': Zweli Mkhize confirms AstraZeneca vaccines offered to AU

The one million Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines which arrived in SA two weeks ago will be offered to other African states.

This is according to health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, speaking on Tuesday during the debate on the state of the nation address.

'The AstraZeneca doses we purchased have been offered to the AU platform, of which we are part, and the AU will distribute to those countries that have already expressed interest in acquiring the stock. Therefore, please be assured there will be no wasteful or fruitless expenditure,” he said.

February 16 2021 - 16:31

Covid-19: What leaders say during a pandemic matters

It is heartwarming to witness the world solidarity that so quickly led to the establishment of the Covax global vaccine-sharing facility that has allocated at least 330 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to lower-income countries.

It is even more heartening that Covax aims to deliver these in the first half of 2021.

Even as the news broke that some approved vaccines may not be as effective against different variants as was previously hoped, the scientific and medical community remain convinced vaccination will be the best possible defence against the coronavirus pandemic.

February 16 2021 - 15:10

India detects South African, Brazilian Covid variants

India has detected both the South African and Brazilian coronavirus variants and people returning from those countries may be tested more aggressively, health officials said on Tuesday.

The South African variant was detected in four people last month and the Brazilian one in one person this month, they said, adding that the strains can more easily infect a person's lungs than the UK mutation.

The Indian government is now considering mandating RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) tests for all people coming from Brazil and SA, as is being done for those flying in from the UK.


February 16 2021 - 14:15

Here's how much early childhood development workers could get in Covid-19 relief funding

The department of social development has called on early childhood centres (ECDs) to apply for relief funding made available through the presidential employment stimulus.

The stimulus was introduced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October last year and is aimed at providing financial relief to sectors affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of the R100bn set aside, R13bn was allocated for the current financial year. The remaining R87bn will be allocated over the next three years.

February 16 2021 - 13:46

SA plans to share AstraZeneca shots via AU

SA plans to share a million AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses it received from the Serum Institute of India with other African countries via the AU, a senior health official said on Tuesday.

The country paused the rollout of the AstraZeneca shots this month, after preliminary trial data showed they offered minimal protection against mild to moderate illness from the country's dominant coronavirus variant.

It plans to start inoculating health-care workers with Johnson & Johnson's vaccine as soon as this week in a research study.

February 16 2021 - 11:05

Study showing high Eastern Cape Covid-19 prevalence questioned

Almost two-thirds of Eastern Cape residents may already have had Covid-19, with antibodies picked up in blood donations done in late January.

This startling statistic emerged on Friday with the publication of a report led by the SA National Blood Service and the Western Cape Blood Service.

Researchers estimated that 63% of those in the province already had the antibodies to neutralise the virus.

February 16 2021 - 09:34

SA says documentation on Russia's Sputnik V vaccine submitted to regulator

SA's health ministry said on Tuesday that the manufacturers of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine had submitted documentation to local regulator the SAHPRA for registration.

The ministry added in a statement that it was "continuously engaging" with the manufacturers of the vaccine.


February 16 2021 - 08:18

SA company to start production of ultra-cold Covid-19 vaccine storage

SA 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.

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.

February 16 2021 - 07:35

Close to 3,000 pupils did not return to school due to Covid-19 fears

Close to 3,000 pupils did not return to school last year after the imposition of the March lockdown due to Covid-19 fears, Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has disclosed.

Lesufi said the school districts would be consolidating current attendance figures and compare it with the previous year, to verify the accurate number of pupils who might have dropped out.

The department welcomed around 2.3 million pupils back to school on Monday, he said.

February 16 2021 - 07:30

SA asks Serum Institute to take back 1 million vaccine doses-report

SA has asked the Serum Institute of India to take back the one million Covid-19 vaccine doses the company had sent in early February, The Economic Times reported on Tuesday, a week after the country said it will put on hold use of AstraZeneca's shot in its vaccination program.

Serum Institute of India, which is producing AstraZeneca's shot, has emerged as a key vaccine supplier.

One million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine landed in South Africa last week and another 500,000 were due to arrive in the next few weeks.

The company did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.


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