COVID-19 WRAP | SA records more than 1,200 new Covid-19 cases, 53 deaths in 24 hours

09 April 2021 - 07:21 By TimesLIVE
A person writes a message on the National Covid Memorial Wall beside St Thomas' Hospital set as a memorial to all those who have died so far in the UK from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London, Britain, April 8 2021.
A person writes a message on the National Covid Memorial Wall beside St Thomas' Hospital set as a memorial to all those who have died so far in the UK from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London, Britain, April 8 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

April 09 2021 - 22:27

SA records more than 1,200 new Covid-19 cases, 53 deaths in 24 hours

There were 1,267 new Covid-19 cases recorded across SA in the past 24 hours, along with 53 more deaths, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Friday.

The new infections came from 30,560 tests, at a positivity rate of 4.14%.

There have now been 1,556,242 total Covid-19 cases recorded since the start of the outbreak in March last year. Under 10.1 million Covid-19 tests have been done in that period.

April 09 2021 - 21:39

Brazil's Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro ease restrictions despite record Covid deaths

Brazil's Sao Paulo state and the city of Rio de Janeiro are easing restrictions on hospitality businesses and other activities, authorities said on Friday, even as Latin America's largest country continues to break its own grim records for daily Covid-19 deaths.

Sao Paulo will allow customers to pick up takeaway food from bars and restaurants starting on Monday, while professional sports games will be permitted without crowds, along with a series of other specific activities, Vice-Governor Rodrigo Garcia told journalists.

In the city of Rio de Janeiro, officials on Friday lifted a broad set of restrictions put in place in late March. Bars, restaurants and malls can resume in-person service, though beaches and parks remain closed and an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew remains in effect.

April 09 2021 - 20:54

Moderna vaccine antibodies last at least 6 months; lung transplant can save some Covid-19 survivors

The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for Covid-19, the illness caused by the virus.

Moderna vaccine antibodies last at least 6 months

A follow-up study of 33 people who received Moderna Inc's Covid-19 vaccine in early trials show the antibodies it induced are still present six months after the second dose. "Antibody activity remained high in all age groups," researchers said. They confirmed the findings using three different tests, according to a report on Tuesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Earlier this month, Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE said their vaccine using similar messenger RNA (mRNA) technology remained highly effective for at least six months.. The researchers conducting the Moderna vaccine study will continue to follow the same volunteers to see whether the antibodies last longer than six months. They are also evaluating the potential for a booster dose to extend the duration of the antibodies and improve their potency against new more contagious variants of the coronavirus.

April 04 2021 - 20:52

'Vaccine grabbing' seen fueling risk of fake Covid-19 jabs in Africa

The unequal global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines could spur the trade in fake doses in Africa - a hotspot for counterfeit medicines, analysts warned on Friday, citing the seizure of falsified vaccination shots in South Africa.

With poorer countries grappling to procure enough vaccine doses for their people, criminals will likely see an opportunity to profit, especially in Africa where imports account for more than 80% of pharmaceutical needs, they said.

"Already Africa has a problem with counterfeit medicines. The lack of local production and weak enforcement have for years allowed products to enter countries, such as fake medication for malaria in West Africa," said Richard Chelin, senior researcher at the ENACT programme at the Institute for Security Studies.

April 09 2021 - 17:37

Facebook to turn Menlo Park headquarters into vaccination site

Facebook Inc said on Friday it is converting a part of its Menlo Park headquarters into a vaccination site, joining the government effort to speed up the vaccination drive in the United States.

For this initiative, the company is teaming up with Ravenswood Family Health Centre, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a post .

"We're also teaming up with the State of California and local nonprofits to support mobile vaccination clinics in four of the state's hardest hit regions," wrote Sandberg.

April 09 2021 - 17:36

Tunisia's president, UGTT union speak out against Ramadan curfew

Tunisia's president and a powerful labour union on Friday urged the government to review the 7pm curfew it has brought in to slow Covid-19 infections, which they say will hit shops, cafes and restaurants in the month of Ramadan that starts next week.

The intervention of President Kais Saied and the UGTT union followed a gathering of hundreds of workers in the city of Sousse who said they would keep shops and cafes open, and after protests in el-Kef, Monastir and Mahdia.

Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi's government announced the tougher health restrictions on Wednesday to combat a surge in new cases, bringing the nightly curfew forward to 7pm from 10pm and barring public gatherings and markets.

April 08 2021 - 14:11

Sahpra says court ruling on Ivermectin for Covid-19 was 'not a victory'

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) says this week's high court ruling allowing the use of Ivermectin to combat Covid-19 was not a "victory" against itself or health minister Zweli Mkhize. 

Pretoria high court judge Cassim Sardiwalla granted an order on Tuesday in favour of AfriForum, the ACDP and Doctors for Life, a group of pharmacies and the “I Can Make a Difference” group of medical practitioners, allowing pharmacists and doctors to make up small batches of medicines containing Ivermectin on prescription by a doctor and in small quantities.

April 08 2021 - 13:20

51 million Covid-19 vaccines coming soon: here is what you need to know about the rollout

SA has secured 51 million doses of vaccines from Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Pfizer BioNTech in the battle against Covid-19.

This is according to health minister Zweli Mkhize, who updated the country on Thursday about the latest vaccine rollout.

He said the country was still on track with its vaccination strategy and the second phase will start on May 17.

April 08 2021 - 10:28

Sahpra CEO says two more Covid-19 vaccine applications are under review

Two more Covid-19 vaccines are now under review by the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra).

Speaking on SAfm on Friday, CEO of the regulatory authority Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela said they were reviewing the Sputnik and Sinovac vaccines.

She did not indicate when they would make a decision on whether to approve the two vaccines for use in SA.

April 08 2021 - 07:21

Brazil registers record 4,249 Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours

Brazil recorded a daily record 4,249 deaths from COVID-19 as well as 86,652 additional confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

Brazil has registered more than 13 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 345,025, according to ministry data.