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COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 1,637 Covid-19 cases in the last 24-hour cycle

23 April 2021 - 07:43 By TimesLIVE
Doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are seen at Austria Center, which has been set up as a coronavirus disease mass vaccination centre, in Vienna, Austria April 22 2021.
Doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are seen at Austria Center, which has been set up as a coronavirus disease mass vaccination centre, in Vienna, Austria April 22 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

April 23 2021 - 22:09

SA records 1,637 Covid-19 cases in the last 24-hour cycle

SA has recorded 71 more Covid-19 related deaths in 24 hours, the health ministry said in an update on Friday.

The deaths, by province, were: Eastern Cape 14, Free State two, Gauteng three, KwaZulu-Natal five, Limpopo 0, Mpumalanga three, North West 40, Northern Cape two and Western Cape two. This brings the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic to 54,066.

The cumulative number of cases as of Friday for the country was 1,572,985.

Since Thursday, an additional 33,903 tests were completed. The country’s recovery rate stands at 95%.

April 23 2021 - 21:20

J&J Covid-19 vaccine pause under review as US advisers weigh clot reports

Advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday are considering if it is safe to resume injections of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine, even as senior US health officials prepare for a green light.

The vaccine was paused by the CDC and US Food and Drug Administration last week after reports of rare but serious blood clots associated with low blood platelets. Top health officials have said they hope for a return to the vaccine's use after the panel meets.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing on Friday morning that the agency had prepared a risk/benefit analysis for the panel that included weighing that some individuals would choose not to be vaccinated if they cannot have the one-shot J&J vaccine.

April 23 2021 - 21:19

Co-creator of AstraZeneca Covid shot defends safety amid clot concerns

One of the Oxford scientists who co-developed AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine defended its safety on Friday and said he was not worried that some countries had opted to restrict its use amid concerns about a possible link to very rare side effects.

Adrian Hill, director of the Oxford University's Jenner Institute, said teams around the world were working to pin down any potential mechanism for what might be causing the blood clots, using real world data now so many shots have been administered.

He agreed with medicines regulators in Britain, and Europe, and with World Health Organization experts, that the risk-benefit balance for the coronavirus shot favoured its use.

April 23 2021 - 21:18

Tedros denounces vaccine inequity as COVAX scheme marks first year

Coronavirus vaccines remain out of reach in the poorest countries, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a report on Friday, marking the first anniversary of the COVAX dose-sharing facility.

"Nearly 900 million vaccine doses have been administered globally, but over 81% have gone to high- or upper middle-income countries, while low-income countries have received just 0.3%," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said about the ACT (Access to Covid-19 Tools) Accelerator set up a year ago.

He later told a briefing he was concerned about the rising caseload in India.

April 23 2021 - 17:55

Hospitals overrun as India's Covid-19 infections top global record for second day

People scrambled for life-saving oxygen supplies across India on Friday and patients lay dying outside hospitals as the capital recorded the equivalent of one death from Covid-19 every five minutes.

For the second day running, the country's overnight infection total was higher than ever recorded anywhere in the world since the pandemic began last year, at 332,730.

India's second wave has hit with such ferocity that hospitals are running out of oxygen, beds and anti-viral drugs. Many patients have been turned away because there was no space for them, doctors in Delhi said.

April 23 2021 - 17:48

UK PM Johnson says Britain is getting control of Covid-19 pandemic

Britain is getting control of the Covid-19 pandemic as case numbers fall and vaccines are rolled out, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday, adding that he would stick to a cautious plan for easing lockdown restrictions.

"We're getting through this. There's no question that things are better than they were," Johnson told broadcasters, adding that he thought the next stage of reopening would proceed on May 17, with all restrictions hopefully lifted on June 21.

April 23 2021 - 15:30

Education department mulling pupils’ return to classes full-time

The department of education is locked in a meeting to discuss the return of pupils to school on a full-time basis.

A source within the department, not authorised to speak to the media, told TimesLIVE the meeting is under way with the consensus being that pupils will return full-time in the second term.

“When the president announced local government elections will go ahead, it seems as if he going to start unlocking things. It will be unfair to limit education when political rallies are allowed,” said the source.

April 23 2021 - 15:02

We can take precautions now to keep third wave at bay, but we must prepare for a possible rise in infections

Based on the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in other countries, an SA expert predicts SA’s third wave could be 25% more severe than the second wave, but says the risk can be mitigated if precautions are taken now.

According to infection disease specialist Prof Ian Sanne, CEO of Right To Care, an NPO focused on prevention of the spread of viruses and specifically HIV, the organisation has made recommendations that hospitals prepare for a progressive implementation for capacity. 

Sanne could not give an official date for when the third wave was to be expected and said it could be too early to say, but his personal prediction would be by mid-May.

April 23 2021 - 13:18

Anyone with side effects from Covid-19 vaccine can report it here

A mobile app to report suspected adverse drug reactions, including to the Covid-19 vaccine, has been launched in SA.

The Med Safety app is compatible with iOS and Android operating systems.

The SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra), an entity of the national department of health, said it is using the app to improve the reporting of adverse effects of medicines and vaccines, to promote pharmacovigilance and medicine safety.

April 23 2021 - 11:35

Four-month-old kitten put down after catching Covid-19 from owner

A kitten was put down after it apparently contracted Covid-19 from its owner in the UK.

Daily Mail reported on Friday that the four-month-old kitten was struggling to breathe when it was taken to the vet earlier this month.

Its condition did not improve and it had to be put down.

April 23 2021 - 08:30

India's posts world record daily COVID cases for second straight day

India recorded the world's highest daily tally of coronavirus cases for a second day in a row on Friday, while daily deaths from COVID-19 also jumped by a record.

With 332,730 new cases, India's total caseload has now passed 16 million. Deaths rose by 2,263 to reach a total of 186,920, according to health ministry data.


April 23 2021 - 07:30

Fire in COVID-19 hospital kills 12 as India struggles with huge second wave

India reported the world's highest daily tally of coronavirus cases for the second day on Friday, surpassing 330,000 new cases, as it struggles with a health system in crisis and beset by accidents.

Deaths in the past 24 hours also jumped to a record 2,263, the health ministry said, while officials across northern and western India, including the capital, New Delhi, warned most hospitals were full and running out of oxygen.

The spike in cases came as a fire in a hospital treating COVID-19 patients killed a dozen people on Friday, the latest accident to hit a facility in India crowded with people infected with the coronavirus.

"Twelve people have died in the fire, according to the information we have right now," a fire official said about the blaze that began in a critical care unit of the Vijay Vallabh hospital in a suburb of the city of Mumbai.