COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 1,313 new Covid-19 cases

05 March 2021 - 06:56 By TimesLIVE
Medical staffs prepare syringes with doses of the vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) at the Tokyo Metropolitan Cancer and Infectious Diseases Center Komagome Hospital in Tokyo, Japan March 5, 2021.
Medical staffs prepare syringes with doses of the vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) at the Tokyo Metropolitan Cancer and Infectious Diseases Center Komagome Hospital in Tokyo, Japan March 5, 2021.
Image: Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool via REUTERS

March 05 2021 - 21:38

SA hits vaccine milestone as 100,000 shots have now been administered

South Africa's 100,000th Covid-19 vaccine has been administered, 17 days after the first shot was given out on February 17.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhzie said on Friday - on the one-year anniversary of the first Covid-19 case being recorded in SA - that 100,180 doses had been administered as part of the country's vaccine roll-out.

March 05 2021 - 19:05

Italy 2020 death toll is highest since World War Two as Covid-19 hits

Italy registered more deaths in 2020 than in any other year since World War Two, according to data that suggest COVID-19 caused thousands more fatalities than were officially attributed to it.

Total deaths in Italy last year amounted to 746,146, statistics bureau ISTAT said, an increase of 100,525, or 15.6%, compared with the average of the 2015-2019 period.

Looking at the period from when Italy's COVID-19 outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 to the end of the year, the "excess deaths" were even higher at 108,178, an increase of 21% over the same period of the last five years.

March 05 2021 - 18:52

Health department accused of 'lying' to parliament over J&J vaccines

The health department has been accused of lying to parliament about the procurement of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine currently being administrated nationwide.

Leading the charge in parliament's health portfolio committee on Friday was EFF MP Naledi Chirwa, who told deputy health minister Dr Joe Phaahla, along with his director-general Dr Sandile Buthelezi, that they had deliberately misled parliament on a number of issues pertaining to the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.

March 05 2021 - 18:31

More than 21 million people in UK have had one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Over 21 million people have now been given a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Britain, health authorities said on Friday.

Public Health England said that 21,358,815 people had received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while there had been 236 deaths within 28 days of a positive test reported on Friday.


March 05 2021 - 14:38

J&J vaccine being administered is not formally registered with health products authority

Deputy health minister Joe Phaahla on Friday told parliament the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine being administered was not formally registered with the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra).

Phaahla also revealed the vaccines being used in the current rollout programme were part of a batch J&J was using to conduct their worldwide human “expanded study.”

“It is legally regarded as an expanded study because as we are rolling out, the vaccine is not registered. The documentation for the application for registration of the vaccine has  been submitted to Sahpra and documentation has also been submitted to other authorities.”

March 05 2021 - 13:58

PODCAST | One year of Covid-19: Reflecting on SA's biggest moments

Today marks exactly a year since the first Covid-19 case was confirmed in SA. Since that day there have been 1,517,666 confirmed cases and 50,462 Covid-19-related deaths countrywide.

In this episode of Boots on the Ground: Behind SA’s National Headlines, we relive some of the most memorable moments from the pandemic - moments we ought not to forget, as we continue to wage war against Covid-19.

Here are some of SA's most memorable moments: 

March 05 2021 - 13:55

Salim Abdool Karim: SA’s voice of reason

Epidemiologist Salim Abdool Karim, the scientific leader of SA’s Covid-19 pandemic response, is amused by the common public perception of how scientific progress works.

In this imagined version of the process, sombre eggheads nod gravely over each other’s infallible findings in a march of relentless consensus. 

“People get worried when they hear we disagree on some things,” he says.

March 05 2021 - 13:30

Common gout drug does not help hospitalised Covid-19 adults — UK study

A commonly used gout drug did not have any effect on patients hospitalised with Covid-19, a large UK study found, prompting scientists to halt enrolments in a blow to finding uses for existing treatments in taming the pandemic.

An independent panel suggested pausing recruitment of volunteers in the colchicine arm of UK's RECOVERY trial, based on a preliminary analysis, scientists involved in the study said on Friday, adding that the panel did not think more volunteers could provide further data.

A follow up in ongoing and final data is expected to be published soon, scientists at the University of Oxford said.

March 05 2021 - 12:10

Nelson Mandela Bay Covid-19 map shows cases drop below 50

Nelson Mandela Bay’s active Covid-19 cases dropped below 50 on Wednesday, with only four people testing positive that day.

This is according to a municipal map that tracks the number and location of Covid-19 cases in the metro.

It shows the metro is dealing with 49 active cases.

March 05 2021 - 12:02

ONE YEAR OF COVID-19 | Five treatments that fell short

Over the course of the last year since the first outbreak of the coronavirus, numerous drugs and treatments have been touted. While studies have proved some to be successful in helping to treat the virus, others have disappointed.

Here's a look at five Covid-19 treatments that didn't work out as hoped:


First developed to combat Ebola, Remdesivir showed early promise for treating Covid-19 patients but subsequent full trials showed little or no effect in treating severe infections.

March 05 2021 - 11:57

ONE YEAR OF COVID-19 | ‘Mistakes were made, lessons were learnt’: Zweli Mkhize

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said the Covid-19 crisis has been a rough year-long journey for SA in which mistakes were made, lessons were learnt and achievements were made.

He was speaking at Greys Hospital in Pietermaritzburg on Friday morning when the provincial government and health department hosted an event to mark a year since the coronavirus hit the country.

Mkhize paid tribute to the more than 50,000 people who have lost their lives to Covid-19, including political analyst Karima Brown, who died of Covid-related complications on Thursday.

March 05 2021 - 11:56

KZN government to extend contracts of over 10,000 health workers

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government will extend the contracts of more than 10,000 health-care workers who were employed last year to strengthen the health-care system during the pandemic.

The provincial executive council approved the decision during its weekly meeting earlier this week.

KZN premier Sihle Zikalala said the contracts will be extended by six months as SA faces the possibility of a third wave of Covid-19 infections. He said contract workers helped reduce the mortality rate among Covid-19 patients and burnout among staff.

March 05 2021 - 11:21

Covid-19 variant and immunity: Here is what you need to know

Those who have previously tested positive for the new Covid-19 variant, 501Y.V2, have better immunity against other mutations of the coronavirus.

This is according to scientists from the KwaZulu-Natal Research Informatics and Sequencing Programme (Krisp) who discovered the 501Y.V2 variant.

A study was carried out to raise hopes that vaccines modelled on the variant could protect against future mutations.

March 05 2021 - 11:20

World no closer to answer on Covid origins despite WHO probe — expert

Despite a high-profile visit to China by a team of international experts in January, the world is no closer to knowing the origins of Covid-19, according to one of the authors of an open letter calling for a new investigation into the pandemic.

“At this point we are no further advanced than we were a year ago,” said Nikolai Petrovsky, an expert in vaccines at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and one of 26 global experts who signed the open letter, published on Thursday.

In January, a team of scientists picked by the World Health Organisation (WHO) visited hospitals and research institutes in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the coronavirus was identified, in search of clues about the origins of Covid-19.

March 05 2021 - 11:18

B117 coronavirus variant might soon become dominant in Germany-RKI head

A more contagious variant of the coronavirus first detected in Britain might soon become the predominant strain in Germany, making it hard to stop its spread, the head of the Robert Koch Institute said on Friday.

Lothar Wieler said the B117 variant now made up more than 40% of coronavirus cases in Germany, compared to about 6% of cases four weeks ago.

"It is foreseeable that B117 will soon be the predominant variant in Germany and then it will be even more difficult to keep the virus in check because B117 is more contagious and even more dangerous in all age groups," he said. 


March 05 2021 - 10:50

Apes at San Diego Zoo get Covid-19 vaccines

The San Diego Zoo has made history as the first facility in the world to give non-human primate species the Covid-19 vaccine, reports Al Jazeera.

Nine apes (four orangutans and five bonobos) received two jabs initially designed to vaccinate cats and dogs, with zoo officials taking the decision to inoculate the primates after eight apes contracted the infectious disease at the zoo in January.

Among the recipients is a 28-year-old Sumatran orangutan named Karen, a primate already made famous for being the first ape to go under the knife for open heart surgery in 1994.

March 05 2021 - 10:32

Catholic doctors in Kenya reject Covid-19 vaccination efforts

Members of the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association (KCDA) have voiced their scepticism about the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in the country, saying they believe vaccination against the coronavirus to be “unnecessary”.

Nation reports that health workers who are part of the KCDA are encouraging faith-based organisations to halt vaccine campaigns, as they claim the only reasonable defence against Covid-19 is observing safety precautions such as wearing masks and quarantining patients for 10-14 days.

BBC reports that the Catholic Church of Kenya has dismissed the KCDA’s call to halt distribution of the vaccine and inoculation efforts, citing Pope Francis’ approval of the vaccine as evidence of its safety.

March 05 2021 - 09:50

SA climbs to 16th global spot for Covid-19 cases after moving to level 1 lockdown

SA has climbed two spots on the Worldometers ranking of countries with the most Covid-19 infections following the move to level 1 lockdown earlier this week.

This comes as the number of infections in SA sits at 1,517,666 and the death toll at 50,462, according to statistics released by health minister Zweli Mkhize on Thursday.

The number of new infections, however, has been steadily declining, with the country recording fewer than 10,000 in the past week. Mkhize reported 1,404 new cases and 96 deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours.

March 05 2021 - 09:29

After record Covid-19 deaths, Bolsonaro tells Brazilians to stop 'whining'

After two straight days of record Covid-19 deaths in Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday told Brazilians to stop “whining” and move on, in his latest remarks attacking distancing measures and downplaying the gravity of the pandemic.

Brazil has the world's second-highest death toll over the past year, after the US. While the US outbreak is ebbing, Brazil is facing its worst phase of the epidemic yet, pushing its hospital system to the brink of collapse.

“Enough fussing and whining. How much longer will the crying go on?” Bolsonaro told a crowd at an event. “How much longer will you stay at home and close everything? No-one can stand it any more. We regret the deaths, again, but we need a solution.”

March 05 2021 - 08:28

ONE YEAR OF COVID-19 | How grocery delivery apps scored

For most people, 2020 was a challenging year as Covid-19 took hold. More than 50,000 people have died in SA, thousands lost their jobs and the economy suffered tremendously. But there was a silver lining, as this was also a time when delivery apps were on the rise.

According to Toby Shapshak, editor and publisher of the SA edition of Stuff magazine, the best delivery app design was the Checkers Sixty60 app.

Shapshak said the app (now with one million downloads) stood out above the rest: “Many companies try to convert the website to the mobile device, but you can’t do that. You need to design for the mobile experience first and foremost.”

March 05 2021 - 07:40

Vietnam to launch Covid-19 vaccination drive on Monday

Vietnam will launch its Covid-19 vaccination campaign on Monday, the country's health minister said, after the country received the first batch of 117,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last month.

The vaccinations will initially be conducted in 18 hospitals treating coronavirus patients and areas with higher infection numbers, Minister Nguyen THanh Long said in a statement on Friday. 


March 05 2021 - 07:30

South Korea approves Pfizer covid-19 vaccine -drug safety ministry

South Korea's drug safety ministry said on Friday it has granted final approval for the use of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine.

The announcement came after the ministry approved a separate batch of Pfizer vaccines sent last month via the COVAX global vaccine sharing scheme, which are being used in the ongoing vaccination campaign. The ministry has also approved AstraZeneca's vaccine. 


March 05 2021 - 07:00

ONE YEAR OF COVID-19 | 'We can't make the same mistakes again': medical fraternity reflects on pandemic

The pandemic has affected every sphere of human life but it has also been countered with great resolve and determination by all South Africans who have made personal sacrifices that have resulted in the containment of two successive waves of transmission.

March 05 2021 - 06:57

Millions of Covid-19 shots heading to SA between now and June, Mkhize says

SA will receive between 9 million and 11 million Covid-19 vaccines between March and June, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday night.

March 05 2021 - 06:30

ONE YEAR OF COVID-19 | Divorces on the rise during pandemic, say lawyers

In a year of Covid-19 in SA, close proximity, financial pressures and even home schooling have hit couples hard and left relationships 'ruptured'

March 05 2021 - 05:17

ONE YEAR OF COVID-19: WATCH | South Africans reflect on life during the pandemic

It's hard to believe that the coronavirus landed on SA shores a year ago.

March 05 2021 - 05:01

ONE YEAR OF COVID-19: 10 sobering facts about the pandemic in SA

The coronavirus pandemic has brought a time of uncertainty, tragedy and new ways of living for South Africans. Many have lost loved ones, grappled with the virus and dealt with the ravaging effects of lockdown.

March 05 2021 - 00:03

ONE YEAR OF COVID-19: IN PICS | A look at Covid-19 through the lenses of our photographers

As the world comes to grips with the effects of Covid-19, SA has had its own unique experience of the pandemic exactly a year since the first case

05 March 2021 - 04:54

ONE YEAR OF COVID-19 | A year on from SA's first coronavirus case, here's how it compares to Spanish flu

As SA reflects on a year of heartache and mourning, here's a look at how the coronavirus has affected the world in comparison to another virus - the 1918 Influenza more commonly known as the Spanish flu

After exactly one year of Covid-19, SA sees 1,404 new cases and 96 deaths in a day

In exactly a year since the first Covid-19 case was confirmed in SA on March 5, 2020, there have been 1,517,666 confirmed cases and 50,462 deaths countrywide.

Services as usual on Sunday ... with Covid protocols, vows head of raided church

He claims police are harassing his 2,000-strong congregation after bloody invasion that saw six parishioners arrested

Bucking the trend: SA women more likely to catch Covid than men

Elsewhere in Africa men are more at risk, says WHO, adding that continent’s fatality rate is rising above the average