COVID-19 WRAP | Brazil detects new coronavirus variant similar to South African

31 March 2021 - 07:17 By TimesLIVE
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An Easter balloon floats in the room of Yoshia Uomoto as family members arrive after indoor visitation restrictions due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were lifted at Nikkei Manor, an assisted living facility primarily serving Japanese-American seniors, in Seattle, Washington, US March 30, 2021.
An Easter balloon floats in the room of Yoshia Uomoto as family members arrive after indoor visitation restrictions due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were lifted at Nikkei Manor, an assisted living facility primarily serving Japanese-American seniors, in Seattle, Washington, US March 30, 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

31 March 2021 - 21:39

SA records 1,400 new Covid-19 cases and 58 deaths in 24 hours

SA recorded 1,422 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday.

In the same period, 58 Covid-19 related deaths were recorded.

This means that 1,548,157 total infections and 52,846 deaths have been confirmed across SA to date.

The new infections came from 34,513 tests at a positivity rate of 4.12%.

31 March 2021 - 20:44

Brazil detects new coronavirus variant similar to South African

Brazil has detected a new Covid-19 variant in Sao Paulo state that is similar to the one first seen in South Africa, the head of the state's Butantan biomedical institute said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference the day after Brazil suffered a record 3,780 deaths in a day, Butantan President Dimas Covas said the patient with the variant had no history of travel to South Africa.

31 March 2021 - 19:56

Eight Gauteng health CEOs disciplined over lack of Covid-19 oversight

Eight CEOs of Gauteng health facilities have been charged internally for not complying with or overseeing health and safety measures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was confirmed in a written response by Gauteng health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi to DA health shadow MEC Jack Bloom.

All the CEOs were facing similar disciplinary charges: failing to hold a daily meeting on personal protective equipment (PPE), [not] doing environmental risk assessments and [not] holding weekly occupational health and safety meetings.

31 March 2021 - 15:42

Public protector finds R10m medical scooters were procured improperly

The public protector has found the Eastern Cape health department did not follow due process in procuring medical scooters for R10m to transport patients.

The department purchased the motorcycles in 2020 after getting complaints from rural communities that ambulances could not reach the sick and elderly due to poor road infrastructure.

But the procurement was criticised with many observers questioning the type of care that would be delivered to patients and whether the scooters would be able to traverse poor roads.

31 March 2021 - 15:22

Green Flag status for Covid-19 compliant establishments in KZN

Several restaurants in KwaZulu-Natal obtained Green Flag status on Wednesday when their existing Covid-19 protocols were certified by the newly formed GreenFlag Association.

Similar to Blue Flag status obtained by beaches, the GreenFlag certification of public spaces is said to offer reassurance that a venue has taken all precautions to provide a safe public space to customers and staff — especially when it comes to adequate ventilation.

31 March 2021 - 14:23

Coronavirus cases rising in most Spanish regions, minister says

 The rate of diagnosed Covid-19 infections is rising in most Spanish regions led by the more contagious variant first detected in Britain, Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Wednesday."

We are at a crucial moment. There is an increase, a slow one but still an increase of the incidence, and a prevalence of the Britain variant," she told a news conference.

The minister added the government was expecting the delivery of more than one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday.


31 March 2021 - 13:01

Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine safe, effective on adolescents in trial, companies say

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE said on Wednesday their Covid-19 vaccine was safe and effective and produced robust antibody responses in 12- to 15-year olds, paving the way for them to seek US emergency use authorization in weeks.

Pfizer hopes that vaccinations of the group could begin before the next school year, Albert Bourla, Pfizer's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

Pfizer's vaccine is already authorized for use in people starting at age 16. The new study offers the first evidence of how the vaccine will also work in school-age adolescents.

In the trial of 2,260 adolescents aged 12 to 15, there were 18 cases of Covid-19 in the group that got a placebo shot and none in the group that got the vaccine, resulting in 100% efficacy in preventing Covid-19, the companies said in a statement.

The vaccine was well tolerated, with side effects in line with those seen among those aged 16 to 25 in the adult trial. It did not list the side effects for the younger group, but the adult trial's side effects generally were mild to moderate and included injection-site pain, headaches, fever and fatigue.


31 March 2021 - 12:50

Yemen gets first Covid-19 vaccines as second wave spreads

Yemen received its first Covid-19 vaccines on Wednesday, a week after the war-ravaged country's internationally-recognised government declared a health emergency in response to a second wave of the pandemic.

The 360,000 doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine arrived by plane at Aden, part of a consignment from the global COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme expected to total 1.9 million doses, UN Children's Fund UNICEF said.

In the southern city - the government's interim capital - patients at an isolation centre in the grounds of a hospital lie on temporary beds in tents next to oxygen cylinders, breathing heavily.

"We need more staff, because the rise in cases is not normal. We are exhausted from work, exhausted," said Zainab al-Qaisi, a doctor and director of the centre, set up by the Red Cross last year."The centre is overwhelmed. We need oxygen, to expand intensive care across all provinces."

The COVAX vaccines will be free, and distributed across the divided country, spokesman for the government's health ministry Ali al-Walidi confirmed last week, two days after it declared the health emergency in areas under its control.


31 March 2021 - 12:03

Visiting hour restrictions at Gauteng hospitals eased

Visiting hours in Gauteng’s government hospitals have been eased to allow one visitor per patient for 15 minutes.

“The amendment will permit relatives and friends of patients to spend time with their loved ones while adhering to Covid-19 non-pharmaceutical measures such as social distancing and minimising overcrowding and hospital congestions,” said the provincial health department.

31 March 2021 - 10:53

Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy among Black Americans drops — poll

The percentage of US Black adults who say they have either received a vaccine shot for Covid-19 or want one as soon as possible rose to 55% in March from 41% in February, a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) showed.

31 March 2021 - 08:37

Data withheld from WHO team probing Covid-19 origins in China — Tedros

Data was withheld from World Health Organisation investigators who travelled to China to research the origins of the coronavirus epidemic, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday.

31 March 2021 - 08:30

SA diplomats set to be prioritised for single dose vaccine jabs, says health adviser

Department of health technical adviser Dr Aquina Thulare has told parliament that 362 diplomats stationed in Africa will be considered for priority single dose Covid-19 vaccinations to ensure their speedy return to their diplomatic missions.

31 March 2021 - 08:22

T cells induced by Covid-19 infection respond to new virus variants — US study

A critical component of the immune system known as T cells that respond to fight infection from the original version of the novel coronavirus appear to also protect against three of the most concerning new virus variants, according to a US laboratory study.

31 March 2021 - 08:00

Ministerial advisory committee shake-ups strengthen Covid-19 fight, says Mkhize

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has told parliament’s health portfolio committee that changes made in the make-up of the ministerial advisory committees (MAC) were meant to strengthen government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

31 March 2021 - 07:40

India's daily coronavirus cases rise at slower pace than day earlier

India reported 53,480 new cases of the coronavirus, health ministry data showed on Wednesday, the second day that cases have risen less than the day before.

Deaths were at their highest since mid-December, according to a Reuters tally, with 354 people dying of the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the ministry said, taking total mortalities to 162,468.

India has been reporting a spike in cases this month, with its richest state of Maharashtra, home to the financial capital of Mumbai, accounting for a majority of its case load.

With more than 12 million cases of the coronavirus reported since the beginning of the outbreak last year, India is the third worst affected country in the world, after the United States and Brazil.


31 March 2021 - 07:30

Ukraine reports record daily high of 407 coronavirus related deaths -minister

Ukraine registered a record daily high of 407 coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours, health minister Maksym Stepanov said on Wednesday.

The previous high of 362 deaths was on March 25.Stepanov said 11,226 new infections were reported over the past 24 hours. Ukraine has reported a total of 1,674,168 coronavirus cases and 32,825 deaths.


31 March 2021 - 07:19

As Covid-19 cases and deaths rise, President Biden is asking cities and states to pump the brakes on reopening and even reinstitute restrictions.

Posted by Forbes on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

31 March 2021 - 07:00

Some concert organizers are making plans to cautiously forge ahead this festival season — hoping that increased COVID-19 vaccinations will make concerts safe and appealing.

Posted by NPR on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

31 March 2021 - 05:30

Some booze banned but church doors opened as Ramaphosa makes tactical adjustments to lockdown level 1

The changes, Ramaphosa said, were aimed at guarding against a possible Covid-19 third wave precipitated by the Easter weekend — with slight adjustments made rather than blanket changes

31 March 2021  

Don’t worry, vaccine programme is on track: Ramaphosa, Mkhize

Health minister says negotiations on procurement are ‘complete’, with signing of the agreements in the next 48 hours

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