COVID-19 WRAP | 1,089 new cases recorded in SA

18 April 2021 - 13:27 By TimesLIVE
An Emergency Medical Service member getting vaccinated at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, a Covid-19 vaccination site.
An Emergency Medical Service member getting vaccinated at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, a Covid-19 vaccination site.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

April 18 2021 - 20:58

Guinea receives 300,000 Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines

Guinea received on Sunday a shipment of 300,000 Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines purchased from China and is also set to receive a donation of 200,000 Sinopharm shots, Guinean foreign minister Ibrahima Khalil Kaba said.

Kaba gave no further details on the Sinopharm donation.

Guinea is reporting 93 new coronavirus infections on average each day, 59% of the peak in March. There have been 21,460 infections and 138 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country since the pandemic began.

The West African country has administered at least 109,296 doses of Covid vaccines so far, according to government data compiled by Reuters. Assuming every person needs two doses, that's enough to have vaccinated about 0.4% of the country's population.


April 18 2021 - 20:39

Just over 1,000 new cases recorded in SA

There were 1,089 new cases of Covid-19 recorded in SA, according to the stats released by health minister Zweli Mkhize on Sunday. 

There were also 25 more Covid-related deaths recorded. 

The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases for SA is now 1,566,769. The total number of deaths is 53,736.

April 18 2021 - 19:44

Turkey reports record 318 Covid-19 deaths in a day

Turkey has recorded 318 deaths from Covid-19 in the space of a day, its highest daily total so far, data from the health ministry showed on Sunday.

Turkey's official cumulative death toll stands at 35,926.

Some 55,802 new cases were recorded.

Turkey currently ranks fourth in the world in the number of daily cases based on a seven-day average, according to a Reuters tally.


April 18 2021 - 18:58

Number of Covid-19 patients in French intensive care edges up

The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care units in France edged up on Sunday, the health ministry said, amid a nationwide lockdown to try to stem a third wave of infections.

Health ministry data showed that 5,893 people were in intensive care units with Covid-19, 16 more than on Saturday. The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital rose by 460 to 30,789, ending a streak of five consecutive daily falls.

A government spokesperson said there are signs that the pressure on the medical system is easing slightly, but that the situation in hospitals remains serious.


April 18 2021 - 18:03

Italy reports 251 coronavirus deaths, 12,694 new cases

Italy reported 251 coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday against 310 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections edged down to 12,694 from 15,370.

Italy has registered 116,927 deaths linked to Covid-19, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world.

The number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 - not including those in intensive care - stood at 23,648 on Sunday, down from 24,100 a day earlier.

There were 163 admissions to intensive care units, the same as on Saturday. The total number of intensive care patients declined to 3,311 from 3,340.


April 18 2021 - 17:47

Britain records 10 Covid deaths in a day, lowest since September

Ten people died in Britain in the space of 24 hours after testing positive for Covid-19 within the previous 28 days, according to official data - the lowest number since September 9, although reported deaths tend to fall at the weekend.

According to the data, 32.849 million people had received the first dose of a vaccine, up from 32.693 million on Saturday, and 1,882 new Covid-19 cases were recorded, compared with 2,206 the previous day.


April 18 2021 - 15:22

Covid vaccination a requirement to perform Umra pilgrimage - Saudi state TV

Vaccination against Covid-19 is a requirement to perform the Umra pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi state TV said on Sunday, citing a government official.

Umra is a shorter version of the annual Hajj pilgrimage and it can be performed any other time of the year.


April 18 2021 -  13:20

India's capital Delhi faces hospital beds shortage as coronavirus cases surge

India's capital New Delhi recorded 24,000 coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period and is facing an acute shortage of hospital beds, its chief minister said on Saturday, as the country overall recorded more than 200,000 cases for a third day.

"The situation is very critical, worrying. Oxygen is in short supply," said chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, adding that almost one in four tests for the virus were giving a positive result."

Beds equipped with oxygen supplies, and for critical care, are filling fast," he added.

New Delhi, which has imposed a weekend curfew, is among the worst hit cities in India, where a second major wave of coronavirus infections is straining health infrastructure.

In recent weeks, criticism has mounted over how the federal government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has handled the health crisis, as religious festivals and election rallies continue despite reports of shortages of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and vaccination doses.

India reported 234,692 Covid-19 infections over the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to nearly 14.5 million, second only to the United States. 


April 18 2021 -  13:00

Brazil asks women to delay pregnancy over new coronavirus variant fears

Brazil asked women on Friday to delay getting pregnant until the worst of the pandemic passes, saying the virus variant that is devastating the South American country appears to affect expectant mothers more than earlier versions of the coronavirus.

The recommendation comes as Brazil continues to be one of the global epicenters of the pandemic, with more Brazilians dying of the virus each day than anywhere else in the world.

Hospitals are buckling under the strain and stocks of drugs needed for intubating severely ill patients are running perilously low, with Brazil turning to international partners for help with emergency supplies.

"If it’s possible, delay pregnancy a little until a better moment," Health Ministry official Raphael Parente said during a news conference on Friday.


April 18 2021 -  12:30

Coronavirus pandemic: France crosses 100,000 Covid-19 deaths

More than 100,000 people have died so far of Covid-19 in France. For some of the millions who were infected but recovered, the battle against the virus was hard and at times traumatic.

April 18 2021 - 12:00

Brazil struggles to contain coronavirus infections as variants fuel spread

Brazil's already burdened healthcare system is seeing no relief as coronavirus variants fuel further spread. Hospitals are overrun, with some no longer to accept any patients other than Covid cases. Manuel Bojorquez reports.

April 18 2021 - 11:00

Senior Muslim cleric Qaradawi contracts Covid-19

Senior Muslim cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, who is based in Qatar and is a spiritual leader for the Muslim Brotherhood, has contracted Covid-19, his official Twitter account said.

The tweet on Saturday said the cleric, who is in his 90s, was receiving medical care and doing well.

Qaradawi, an Egyptian scholar who has Qatari citizenship, was sentenced to death by an Egyptian court in absentia in 2015 along with other Egyptians affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in a case relating to a 2011 mass jail break.

Qaradawi had rejected the ruling and denied any involvement.

His presence in Qatar and criticism of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi added to a rift between Qatar and Arab states that led them to boycott Doha in 2017 over its support for Islamist movements among other accusations.

The cleric is regarded as one of Islam's top thinkers and his religious show on Doha-based Al Jazeera television was watched by millions until around 10 years ago.

Qaradawi's televised Friday sermons went off the air before the embargo imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, which have all banned the Muslim Brotherhood.

In January the four states agreed to end the dispute with Doha under a US-backed deal.


April 18 2021 - 10:37

Ontario police refuse to make random Covid stops

Police in cities across Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, refused to make random stops greenlighted by the provincial government seeking to impose a stay-at-home order amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.

April 18 2021 - 10:25

Israel rescinds outdoor coronavirus mask requirement

Israel rescinded the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors and fully reopened schools on Sunday in the latest return to relative normality, boosted by a mass-vaccination campaign against the Covid-19 pandemic.

April 18 2021 - 10:07

Sahpra lifts suspension on J&J vaccines with 'conditions'

The SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) has recommended that the temporary pause on the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine be lifted “provided that specific conditions are met”, the organisation said in a statement on Saturday evening.

April 18 2021 - 08:20

Eyes a key frontier in keeping Covid-19 at bay — but there's a downside

Good eye protection has probably been under-appreciated in preventing Covid-19 infections, according to a recent paper published in the UK.

The paper, published in The Lancet, says that most infections are presumed to be from inhalation or from people touching mucosal surfaces with contaminated hands, but evidence from the 1918 influenza pandemic shows that eyes are also an important route of infection.

April 18 2021 - 08:00

Post-Covid cities can only be saved by reinvention and transformation

As the pandemic empties city centres and alters work and travel patterns, planners must redesign them for new needs, functions and economies

April 18 2021 - 07:30

Q&A with Sahpra chairperson Helen Rees on J&J vaccine pause

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority suspended authorisation of the J&J vaccine being used on health-care workers in the Sisonke trial after the US Food and Drug Administration said six women out of more than 7-million people vaccinated developed blood clots. Chris Barron asked professor Helen Rees, chair of Sahpra ...

April 18 2021 - 07:30

Vaccine rollout could show the way to a health system that works for all

Health minister Zweli Mkhize's detailed announcement about the imminent rollout of SA's stalled Covid-19 vaccination programme is good news. His tidings were a tonic for a country whose citizens are weary and battered after more than a year living with this affliction, which has cost so many lives and left a trail of human suffering and economic hardship.

April 18 2021 - 07:00

501Y.V2 gave us a bad name, but it could be to our benefit

The 501Y.V2 Covid variant has been called the South African variant. However, we are not sure it even arose in SA. Calling it the South African variant is not only wrong, it’s also discriminatory.

Using science in the pandemic response has been a positive in SA and led to a climate of transparency in the evolution of Covid-19. Our recent results, published in the journal Nature, indicate that the variant first discovered in SA elutes high-level antibodies that can help to design more effective vaccines.

April 18 2021 - 06:10

Covid-19 vaccine: Blood-clot risk rarer than a double lightning strike

You have a greater chance of being struck by lightning - twice - than getting a blood clot from a Covid-19 vaccine.

"To stop the vaccinations and put our health-care workers at risk is unethical and not the correct thing to do," said Wits professor Barry Jacobson, president of the SA Society of Thrombosis and Hemostatis, after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine rollout to health workers was suspended on Tuesday.

April 18 2021 - 06:05

Covid-19: Call for return of all primary school children

The department of basic education is considering allowing all primary school pupils to return to class full-time because they are less likely to be hospitalised or die from Covid-19 complications.

Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said director-general Mathanzima Mweli and provincial education heads will discuss the idea at a workshop tomorrow.

April 18 2021 - 06:00

This pandemic is a long way from over, Covid-19 experts agree

South African experts have called for a reality check: Covid-19 is an airborne disease, so it's not going away.

Vaccines will reduce hospitalisations and deaths but not eliminate them. Far from the pandemic being in retreat, the world recently experienced its highest number of infections in a single week.