COVID-19 WRAP | SA Covid-19 cases increase to 1,545,979

29 March 2021 - 08:10 By TimesLIVE
The first doses of AstraZeneca's coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines provided by the US government arrive at Benito Juarez International airport, as the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak continues, in Mexico City, Mexico March 28, 2021.
The first doses of AstraZeneca's coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines provided by the US government arrive at Benito Juarez International airport, as the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak continues, in Mexico City, Mexico March 28, 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Mahe Elipe

March 29 2021 - 22:47

SA records 548 new Covid-19 cases and 47 deaths in 24 hours

Just 548 new Covid-19 cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of recorded infections in SA to 1,545,979.

This is according to health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, who released the latest daily figures on Monday night.

The new infections came from 16,123 tests, at a positivity rate of 3.39%.

March 29 2021 - 19:52

Covid-19 probably passed from bats, further studies required - WHO report

A joint WHO-China study on the origins of Covid-19 says that the virus was probably transmitted from bats to humans through another animal, and that a lab leak was "extremely unlikely" as a cause, a summary seen by Reuters said on Monday.

The WHO did not immediately reply to a query seeking comment, but said the full report by the independent experts would be published on Tuesday at 1400 GMT after member states have been briefed.

March 29 2021 - 17:41

Aspen’s Gqeberha factory to make millions of Covid-19 vaccines

At least half of the South African population will receive a Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine manufactured in Gqeberha — home to Aspen Pharmacare’s R3bn sterile facility.

Aspen CEO Stephen Saad made the announcement on Monday during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s whirlwind tour of the facility, which contains hi-tech equipment and systems.

Saad said the first batch would be made available to SA by April, HeraldLIVE reported.

March 29 2021 - 16:42

R300m for artists was 'over committed' not looted: Nathi Mthethwa

Sport, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa has admitted to the mismanagement of R300m earmarked to relieve the plight of artists and creatives during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The sector was one of the hardest hit by the lockdown regulations as it was forced to shut down and may have to shut down its doors again if a third wave of the virus hits the country.

The funds in question form part of the Presidential Employment Stimulus Package (PESP) which saw Mthethwa's department receive more than R500m last year.

March 29 2021 - 16:13

OPINION | Covid-19 shows why united action is needed for more robust international health architecture

The Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge to the global community since the 1940s. At that time, after the devastation of two world wars, political leaders came together to forge the multilateral system.

The aims were clear: to bring countries together, to dispel the temptations of isolationism and nationalism, and to address the challenges that could only be achieved together in the spirit of solidarity and co-operation - namely peace, prosperity, health and security.

Today, we hold the same hope that as we fight to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic together, we can build a more robust international health architecture that will protect future generations.

March 29 2021 - 13:16

US vaccination campaign gains steam as White House speeds shipments

The U.S. government has hit the accelerator on its shipments of Covid-19 vaccines after a month of largely stagnant weekly deliveries, giving states the doses they say they need to finish vaccinating priority groups and open shots to all adults in the coming weeks.

The biggest supply boost has come from Johnson & Johnson . Shipments of the one-shot vaccine had been slow to ramp up since its late February authorization as the company waited for regulatory clearance of a key U.S. factory. Pfizer Inc also has boosted output of its vaccine, doubling batch sizes and shortening production time.


March 29 2021 - 13:12

Philippines sees 10,000 new Covid-19 cases as tight curbs return to capital

The Philippine passed the 10,000 mark for new daily coronavirus infections for the first time on Monday and put its capital region back on one of its toughest levels of lockdown, to try to tackle a spike in cases that is testing its healthcare capacity.

Manila and surrounding provinces were put back under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the highest tier in its containment protocols, for the first time since May 2020 to try to quell the surge in cases, despite inroads late last year towards controlling its epidemic.

The country recorded 10,016 new infections on Monday, bringing the overall tally to 731,894, with deaths at 13,186, one of the highest caseloads in Asia.


March 29 2021 - 12:51

India suffers highest daily coronavirus infections in five months

 India reported the highest daily increase in coronavirus cases in five months on Monday, with the second wave of the disease driven by surging infections in the country's richest state Maharastra.

A total of 68,020 new coronavirus cases were reported in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said. It was the highest daily rise since Oct. 11, according to a Reuters tally.

India has been reporting a spike in cases - above the 60,000 mark - for three consecutive days, though Monday's rise was still below September's peak of more than 90,000 cases a day.


March 29 2021 - 12:01

J&J agrees to supply African Union with up to 400 million Covid shots

 Johnson & Johnson has agreed to supply up to 400 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to the African Union (AU) from the third quarter of 2021, the drugmaker said on Monday, as the continent struggles to get shots into arms and tame infections.

J&J unit Janssen Pharmaceutica NV has entered into a deal with the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) to deliver 220 million doses of its single-dose shot. AVAT could order an additional 180 million doses through 2022.


March 29 2021 - 11:50

English vaccine take-up lower in minority groups, ONS says

 The take-up of Covid-19 vaccines was much lower among minority groups in the first three months of rollout in England, the Office for National Statistics said on Monday, amid concern the benefits of the programme are being unevenly felt.

Britain's vaccine rollout is the fourth fastest in the world, with more than 30 million having received a first dose, a success which Prime Minister Boris Johnson is using to cautiously reopen society and the economy.

However, there is concern that the rollout is unevenly distributed, and fewer numbers in some Black and south Asian groups, which have suffered higher death rates, have received a Covid-19 shot.

"Vaccination rates are markedly lower amongst certain groups, in particular amongst people identifying as Black African and Black Caribbean, those identifying as Muslim, and disabled people," ONS statistician Ben Humberstone said.


March 29 2021 - 10:50

Covid-19 vaccines for health staff on track

Sisonke implementation study gives almost 250,000 health workers their jabs

March 29 2021 - 10:32

WATCH | Stepping down & SA's third wave: One last Covid catchup with Prof Abdool Karim

The country's head of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19, Salim Abdool Karim, stepped down from his position a few days ago to refocus his time on science and research. Sunday Times sat down with the professor for a last catchup on Covid-19 and to find out what is next.

March 29 2021 - 08:08

WATCH | Children want coronavirus to get lost so they can be kids again

At the start of the pandemic children in Nelson Mandela Bay knew Covid-19 as the “purple germ”, but one year on these same children know more about a disease that can sometimes be “very dangerous”.

March 29 2021 - 08:08

WHO says Covid likely passed from bats to humans through another animal 

A joint WHO-China study on the origins of Covid-19 says that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is "extremely unlikely", the Associated Press reported on Monday.

The findings were largely as expected and left many questions unanswered, and the team proposed further research in every area except the lab leak hypothesis, the report added, citing a draft copy obtained by the Associated Press.


March 29 2021 - 08:01

Zimbabweans will get electronic Covid-19 cards to prove they are vaccinated

The Zimbabwean government will start issuing Covid-19 certificates to people who have received their second dose as a way to verify who has been vaccinated.

March 29 2021 - 08:00

Alcohol industry raises concern over possible ban ahead of Easter

The SA alcohol industry has raised concerns over a possible liquor ban or restricted sales ahead of the Easter long weekend, insisting on evidence to support the argument that such regulations would prevent a third Covid-19 wave.

March 29 2021 - 07:00

AfriForum, doctors back in court on Monday to fight for use of ivermectin to treat Covid-19

A court case brought by a group of doctors and lobby group AfriForum involving the right of doctors and pharmacists to use ivermectin to treat Covid-19 patients is expected to be heard on Monday.