COVID-19 WRAP | SA vaccinates over 15,000 health workers

21 February 2021 - 06:13 By TimesLIVE
SA recorded 1,690 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours on Saturday evening, bringing the total cumulative cases to 1,502,367.
SA recorded 1,690 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours on Saturday evening, bringing the total cumulative cases to 1,502,367.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo/ File photo

February 21 2021 - 22:00

SA vaccinates over 15,000 health workers 

SA vaccinated 15,388 health workers since the start of the nationwide vaccine rollout under the Sisonke Protocol.

Dr Zweli Mkhize released the health stats for Sunday evening, with SA recording a total of 1,429 new confirmed cases of Covid-19. 

The number of deaths is a cumulative total of 49,053, with 1,412,015 recoveries since the start of the pandemic.

February 21 2021 - 19:56

US not 'out of the woods' as nation nears 500,000 Covid-19 deaths

The US faces a dark milestone despite a recent decline in Covid-19 cases as it prepares to mark a staggering half million deaths this week, nearly a year after the novel coronavirus pandemic upended the country with dueling public health and economic crises.

While the number of Covid-19 cases fell for the fifth straight week and officials scrambled to inoculate the population, the nation prepared to soon reach 500,000 deaths from the highly infectious respiratory disease.

"It's nothing like we've ever been through in the last 102 years since the 1918 influenza pandemic... It really is a terrible situation that we've been through - and that we're still going through," Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Covid-19 medical adviser and the nation's top infectious disease official, told CNN's "State of the Union" program on Sunday.

Reuters

February 21 2021 - 19:11

UK gives first dose of vaccine to 17.6 million people

More than 17.6 million people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Britain, official data showed on Sunday, as daily deaths and coronavirus cases slipped.

Official figures showed that a further 215 people had died within 28 days of a positive test, down from the 445 reported on Saturday, although numbers can be distorted over the weekend.

A total of 120,580 people have now died in Britain from the virus. Deaths on a seven day average are down 27%. The figures showed 9,834 new cases, down from 10,406 the day before.

Reuters

February 21 2021 - 18:04

Fauci says it is possible Americans will still be wearing masks in 2022

US infectious diseases official Dr Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that it is possible Americans will still be wearing masks in 2022, but that measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 would be increasingly relaxed as more vaccines are administered.

Fauci made the comment during an interview on CNN.

Reuters

February 21 2021 - 17:16

10,000 health-care workers vaccinated in just four days

Less than a week after the country launched its vaccination programme against Covid-19, more than 10,000 health-care workers in SA have been vaccinated.

At least 3,000 of those who had been vaccinated by Saturday were from the private health-care sector.

On Sunday, the national health department said that through the Sisonke early access programme, one-third of the first 80,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines would be allocated to the private sector over the next 14 days.

February 21 2021 - 15:23

KZN health dept denies claims that private doctors have been blocked from getting vaccinated

KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomgugu Simelane has dismissed claims that the department blocked or turned away private sector general practitioners from being vaccinated, accusing some of “peddling untruths”.

This comes as some general practitioners were notified by a doctors' platform, Vaccines for Health Workers, on Saturday that their vaccinations, scheduled for Sunday, had been cancelled due to circumstances “out of our control”.

Addressing a media briefing on Sunday, Simelane said the department had noted social media posts by “a number of general practitioners complaining that the department of health has stopped them from getting vaccinated and had to turn them away”.

February 21 2021 - 14:56

UK to reopen in stages after driving down South African variant

Britain has started to drive down cases of the more infectious South African variant of coronavirus and will only emerge from lockdown in stages to make sure that does not change, the country's health secretary said on Sunday.

A day before Prime Minister Boris Johnson sets out his plan to ease restrictions in England, Hancock said there was also early data showing that the faster-than-expected vaccine rollout was reducing transmissions and easing pressure on hospitals.

Britain has the world's fifth-worst official Covid-19 death toll, with 120,365 fatalities, but an early drive to secure mass vaccine supplies means one in three adults has now had a first shot and daily death rates have started to fall.

Reuters

February 21 2021 - 13:35

Pulse oximeters should not be used to diagnose Covid-19, US FDA says

Pulse oximeters, devices which measure oxygen levels in blood, should not be used to diagnose Covid-19 and could give inaccurate readings under certain circumstances, the US Food and Drug Administration warned on Friday.

In January, the World Health Organisation included use of pulse oximeter to identify patients who might need hospitalisation in its clinical advice for treating Covid-19.

February 21 2021 - 10:49

Mayor of French city of Nice calls for weekend coronavirus lockdown

The mayor of the French Mediterranean city of Nice called on Sunday for a weekend lockdown in the area to stop the flow of visitors and curb a sharp spike in coronavirus infections.

"We need a strong measures that go beyond the nationwide 6pm curfew, either a tighter curfew, or a partial and time-specific lockdown.

A weekend lockdown would make sense ...that would stop the inflow of visitors," Mayor Christian Estrosi said on franceinfo radio. 

Reuters

February 21 2021 - 10:41

Fund sets out to build equality in tourism

The tourism sector remains one of the untransformed sectors in the economy, thus making very little contribution to the elimination of inherited economic inequalities.

The transformation imperative is underpinned by the reality that, over the years, growth in the tourism sector has largely benefited existing players and the industry is far from being representative.

February 21 2021 - 10:30

SANDF's response highlights wider issue

On Sunday March 15 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a state of disaster to help the government address the coronavirus outbreak, which had been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

A week later he signed a directive for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to deploy across the country in support of the police and the government as they enforced measures to limit the spread of the virus.

February 21 2021 - 10:15

For me, getting vaccinated is choosing life: nurse who got first Covid-19 jab

After seeing patients die of Covid in Khayelitsha District Hospital, Zoliswa Gidi-Dyosi wondered if she would be next.

"Some ... were my age and that made me even more scared," said the 42-year-old sister in the hospital's labour ward.

But her 70-year-old mother's near death from Covid-19 brought the pandemic even closer to home. Gidi-Dyosi spent Christmas caring for her mother in King William's Town in the Eastern Cape.

February 21 2021 - 10:09

Australian PM Morrison gets Covid-19 vaccine in 'massive step' towards normal

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday, calling the start of the nation's vaccination programme a “massive step” that will enable it to return to normal.

Up to 4 million Australians are expected to be inoculated by March, with Morrison among a small group receiving the first round of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

February 21 2021 - 08:08

Australia won't advertise Covid-19 vaccine on Facebook but vows publicity

Australia's government pledged a publicity campaign for its rollout of Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday — but not in Facebook advertisements, as a feud continues over the social media giant blocking news content from its platform in the country.

Facebook Inc's abrupt decision on Thursday to stop Australians from sharing news on its platform and strip the pages of domestic and foreign media outlets also blacked out several state government and emergency department accounts, drawing furious responses from lawmakers around the world.

February 21 2021 - 06:26

February 21 2021 - 06:22

Australia won't advertise Covid-19 vaccine on Facebook but vows publicity

 Australia's government pledged a publicity campaign for its rollout of Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday - but not in Facebook advertisements, as a feud continues over the social media giant blocking news content from its platform in the country.

Facebook Inc's abrupt decision on Thursday to stop Australians from sharing news on its platform and strip the pages of domestic and foreign media outlets also blacked out several state government and emergency department accounts, drawing furious responses from lawmakers around the world.

Hours before Australia began inoculations with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government would embark on a wide-ranging communication campaign, including online, to ensure vulnerable people turned up for a shot.But a ban on health department spending to advertise on Facebook would remain in place until the dispute between the Big Tech company and Australia - over a new law to make Facebook pay for news content - was resolved.

"On my watch, until this issue is resolved, there will not be Facebook advertising," Hunt told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. 

Reuters

February 21 2021 - 06:00

'It's not a setback at all': SA to press on with Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine

Health minister Zweli Mkhize told the Sunday Times he was "comfortable" the rollout should continue as planned.

February 21 2021 - 06:00

'All hands are on deck': Moving heaven and earth for fast vaccine rollout

When health-care workers lined up for the first Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccinations this week, it was an emotional moment for them - and for the team that worked long hours and gave their all to fast-track delivery of the life-saving shots.

"Wednesday was D-day and the team moved heaven and earth to get health-care workers vaccinated," said professor Glenda Gray, co-leader of the Johnson & Johnson study team that ensured rapid delivery of the vaccines.

February 21 2021 - 06:00

Israel starts reopening as number of Covid vaccines nears 50%

Israel reopened swathes of its economy on Sunday in what it called the start of a return to routine enabled by a Covid-19 vaccination drive that has reached almost half the population.

While shops were open to all, access to leisure sites like gyms and theatres was limited to vaccinees or those who have recovered from the disease with presumed immunity, a so-called "Green Pass" status displayed on a special Health Ministry app.

Social distancing measures were still in force.

Dancing was barred at banquet halls, and synagogues, mosques or churches were required to halve their normal number of worshippers.

Coming exactly a year after Israel's first documented coronavirus case, Sunday's easing of curbs is part of a government plan to open the economy more widely next month, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is up for reelection.

Israel has administered at least one dose of the Pfizer Inc vaccine to more than 45% of its 9 million population, the Health Ministry says. The two-shot regimen has reduced Covid-19 infections by 95.8%, ministry data showed

Reuters

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