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COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 110 Covid-19 deaths & R10bn for Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan

24 February 2021 - 07:26 By TimesLIVE
A demonstrator uses a firework rocket during a protest in support of healthcare workers against new government measures amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in La Paz, Bolivia, February 23 2021.
A demonstrator uses a firework rocket during a protest in support of healthcare workers against new government measures amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in La Paz, Bolivia, February 23 2021.
Image: REUTERS/David Mercado

February 24 2021 - 22:20

SA records 110 Covid-19 deaths

There have been 110 additional Covid-19 related deaths reported over 24-hours with the majority, 61, being in the Free State.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday evening that five of the deaths were recorded in the Eastern Cape, 12 in Gauteng, seven in KwaZulu-Natal, none in Limpopo, seven in Mpumalanga, none in North West, one in the Northern Cape and 17 in the Western Cape. This brings the total number of deaths in SA since the start of the pandemic to 49,523.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases in SA is 1,507,448. Recoveries stand at 1,422,622 representing a recovery rate of 94%.

“The number of health care workers vaccinated under the Sisonke Protocol is 41,809 as of 6pm,” said Mkhize.

February 24 2021 - 20:04

Zimbabwe to buy 1.2m more Covid vaccine doses from China

Zimbabwe will buy an additional 1.2 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from China at a preferential price, President Emmerson Mnangagwa's spokesperson said on Wednesday, after Beijing agreed to give more free doses to the southern African country.

Zimbabwe began Covid-19 vaccinations last week after receiving a donation of 200,000 doses from the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). The government initially aims to inoculate health workers, security forces and journalists, among others.

Chinese ambassador Guo Shaochun said that his country had decided to double its donation of vaccines to 400,000 as part of its “solidarity and action” with Zimbabwe.

February 24 2021 - 16:17

'We will continue to shed jobs': How lockdown ravaged SA's tourism industry

The devastation of the tourism industry during the Covid-19 lockdown over the festive season, when it had hoped to recoup early 2020 losses, has been laid bare in data released this week.

Reports released by Stats SA show a sharp decrease in the number of tourists visiting SA in December last year and a resultant loss of income for the tourist accommodation industry.

Tourism Business Council of SA (TBCSA) CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said on Wednesday that these statistics, on tourist accommodation and tourism and migration for December 2020, were consistent with numbers industry members have encountered.

February 24 2021 - 15:11

Johnson & Johnson's one-shot Covid-19 vaccine effective and safe- FDA staff

Johnson & Johnson's one-shot Covid-19 vaccine appeared safe and effective in trials, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) staff said in documents published on Wednesday, paving the way for its approval for emergency use.

The FDA's panel of independent experts meets on Friday to decide whether to approve the shot. While it is not bound to follow the advice of its experts, the FDA did so when authorizing the Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc vaccines.

J&J's vaccine was 66% effective in preventing Covid-19 against multiple variants in a global trial involving nearly 44,000 people, the company said last month.


February 24 2021 - 14:02

R10bn for Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan

Finance minister Tito Mboweni has allocated R10.3bn to fund a massive vaccination programme to shield the entire population against Covid-19 in the next two years.

Mboweni announced this as he tabled the 2021/2022 budget before the National Assembly on Wednesday.

The budget documents Mboweni presented to parliament showed that the National Treasury had to reprioritise and do away with some government programmes to raise money to procure enough vaccines to achieve population immunity from the coronavirus.

February 24 2021 - 13:44

Two Australians injected incorrectly with vaccine

February 24 2021 - 13:00

A quick Covid test that plugs into your phone

French researchers are using tiny antibody particles extracted from the family of animals that includes camels and llamas to produce a test they say can detect if patients have Covid-19 faster and more accurately than existing methods.

February 24 2021 - 12:18

SA groups vaccines in order of preference: J&J, Pfizer, Moderna in first category

Government advisers have organised Covid-19 vaccines into three groups, with the Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Pfizer and Moderna shots being considered for “immediate use”, says health minister Zweli Mkhize.

SA started rolling out the J&J vaccine last week in a research study targeting health-care workers and hopes to receive Pfizer doses in the coming months.

It has paused AstraZeneca vaccinations after a small trial showed the British company’s shot offered minimal protection against mild to moderate illness caused by the dominant local coronavirus variant.

February 24 2021 - 11:28

Oman bans entry from 10 countries to curb coronavirus spread

 Oman will not allow people from 10 countries to enter the country for 15 days to curb the spread of the coronavirus, in particular certain mutated strains, the Gulf state's coronavirus committee said on Tuesday.

The countries are: Sudan, Lebanon, South Africa, Brazil, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia. The decision is effective from Thursday. 


February 24 2021 - 11:16

‘Surely vaccinating 80,000 in one day is possible?’ - Ndlozi questions SA’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout

EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has accused the government of incompetence in administering the Covid-19 vaccine.

Taking to social media on Tuesday, he said those in power could be faster in administering the life-saving jabs to health workers as they are at risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Ndlozi was reacting to health minister Zweli Mkhize’s address to MPs during a parliamentary debate on the country’s vaccine rollout.

February 24 2021 - 11:15

Spain's 11 billion euro aid package for companies to include haircuts on loans, source says

Spain's new aid package of around 11 billion euros ($13.4 billion) for companies will include haircuts on state-backed credit loans and also direct aid for recapitalisation, a government source told Reuters on Wednesday.

The source said that details of the aid plan were still being discussed with the Bank of Spain and the banking sector. ($1 = 0.8221 euros)


February 24 2021 - 07:49

Philippines offers nurses in exchange for vaccines from Britain, Germany

The Philippines will let thousands of its health care workers, mostly nurses, take up jobs in Britain and Germany if the two countries agree to donate coronavirus vaccines, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Britain's health ministry said it was not interested in such a deal and its priority was to use shots domestically, but said it would share surplus vaccine internationally in the future.

The Philippines, which has among Asia's highest number of coronavirus cases, has relaxed a ban on deploying its health care workers overseas, but still limits the number of medical professionals leaving the country to 5,000 a year.

February 24 2021 - 07:39

Japan regions push to end state of emergency as Covid-19 cases fall

Regional Japanese governments have requested emergency pandemic measures be lifted ahead of the March 7 scheduled end as new Covid-19 cases trend lower, the country's economy minister said, adding the government will seek expert views before agreeing.

A surge in cases prompted Japan to announce a state of emergency last month for 11 prefectures, requesting residents to curtail activities and businesses to shorten operating hours.

The state of emergency would likely be lifted in stages though businesses would be asked to continue closing early, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said on Wednesday.

February 24 2021 - 07:18

Right2Know set to defy Covid-19 regulations in today’s budget protests

Campaigners of the Right2Know (R2K) group have announced they will intentionally defy Covid-19 regulations barring political gatherings because they claim there is no merit in this particular rule.

On Tuesday the group said: “We will be defying the current Covid-19 regulations that prohibit political gatherings because we believe the government is using them to suppress dissent.

“Other gatherings are permitted in the current regulations and we believe this is an attack on our right to protest.”