COVID-19 WRAP | SA Covid-19 cases near 1,6 million

11 May 2021 - 07:00 By TimesLIVE
People wait at Mawa Ferry Station to get home to celebrate Eid al-Fitr at another region, after the government imposed restrictions on long-route public transport in Munshiganj, Bangladesh, on May 10 2021.
People wait at Mawa Ferry Station to get home to celebrate Eid al-Fitr at another region, after the government imposed restrictions on long-route public transport in Munshiganj, Bangladesh, on May 10 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

May 11 2021 - 22:09

Just over 1,500 new Covid-19 cases recorded in SA in 24 hours

SA is on the verge of 1.6 million total Covid-19 cases, with 1,548 new cases recorded in the past 24 hours.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Tuesday that there were now 1,599,272 total infections recorded countrywide since the outbreak of the virus in March last year.

The new infections came from 26,075 tests, at a positivity rate of 5.93%.

May 11 2021 - 19:32

Statistician-general blames Covid-19 for postponing census to February

SA's population count will be postponed to next year thanks to Covid-19.

Statistician-general Risenga Maluleke told parliament that the census, originally scheduled for October this year, will be postponed by four months to February 2022.

“Let me put it this way, we have a lot of tests that we do before the census is conducted. Among other things we do a pilot survey, or pilot census,” he told parliament's portfolio committee on public service and administration last week. “It is the last thing that helps us to be ready for the main census and to be able to know what we need to tweak,” said Maluleke.

May 11 2021 - 17:58

Undertakers threaten to intensify strike and shut down all home affairs offices

Aggrieved Gauteng funeral parlours say they will intensify their protest from Tuesday and “shut down” all home affairs offices across SA until their complaints over the department’s regulations are addressed.

The companies, under the banner of the Unification Task Team (UTT), want the department to amend regulations so they have the right to remove bodies from mortuaries, hospitals and forensic laboratories for burial.

At issue are certificates of competence (COCs), which allow funeral parlours to obtain death certificates on behalf of bereaved families. Without the certificates they cannot complete the death registrations, which means that families have to delay burying their loved ones, or queue on their own at home affairs offices to apply for the documentation.

May 11 2021 - 16:00

New variants will spread fast so don’t be complacent: Prof Abdool Karim

The Covid-19 variants detected in SA could spread “quite quickly” and no-one should become complacent, Prof Salim Abdool Karim warned on Tuesday.

The national health department confirmed on Saturday evening that 11 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant — first recorded in the UK — had been detected in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, while four cases of the B.1.617.2 variant first recorded in India were detected in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Karim, a clinical infectious diseases epidemiologist, said the B.1.1.7 variant was a fast spreading variant and what was happening in the North West, the Northern Cape and the Free State was concerning.

May 11 2021 - 13:45

Time for change: Queen sets out UK Johnson's post-pandemic agenda

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to tackle inequality and "level up" the country on Tuesday with a post-pandemic raft of laws presented by Queen Elizabeth to parliament.

In a ceremony stripped back because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the queen, who wore a day dress instead of the usual robes and crown, read out the bills the government hopes to pass during the next year on everything from job creation and healthcare to stripping back post-Brexit bureaucracy.

In the 18 months since Johnson's Conservatives were re-elected with a big parliamentary majority, his agenda has been eclipsed by the pandemic, which caught his government off guard and has absorbed many of its resources for making policy.

May 11 2021 - 12:48 

How long will the Covid-19 vaccine protect you?

Many people have pinned their hopes on the idea that life will return to “normal” once Covid-19 vaccines have been rolled out across the globe. However, there’s still much uncertainty about how long the protection from these vaccines (single and double dose) will last.

Rumours abound online, with some people saying you would need to have the jab every six months, or yearly like the flu vaccine. Others say one dose should be sufficient for life.

To clear the confusion, we asked three local experts this question: If I get inoculated, how long will a Covid-19 vaccine last?

May 11 2021 - 12:12

No plans yet to place SA under tighter lockdown restrictions: Zweli Mkhize

President Cyril Ramaphosa has not yet indicated his plans to place SA under tighter lockdown restrictions amid growing concerns over cases of new Covid-19 variants.

New Covid-19 variants, first detected in the UK and India, were confirmed in SA over the weekend.

Eleven cases of the B.1.1.7 variant discovered in the UK and four cases of the B.1.617.2 variant found in India were detected.

May 11 2021 - 11:02

India's 7-day Covid-19 average at new high as WHO issues warning on strain

India's coronavirus crisis showed scant sign of easing on Tuesday, with a seven-day average of new cases at a record high and international health authorities warning the country's variant of the virus poses a global concern.

India's daily coronavirus cases rose by 329,942, while deaths from the disease rose by 3,876, according to the health ministry. India's total coronavirus infections are now at 22.99 million, while total fatalities rose to 249,992.

India leads the world in the daily average number of new deaths reported, accounting for one in every three deaths reported worldwide each day, according to a Reuters tally.

May 11 2021 - 09:54

You can apply for the Covid-19 vaccine via WhatsApp — here’s how

As SA prepares for the second phase of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout next Monday, the department of health has launched a service to register for the vaccine via WhatsApp or USSD.

The rollout is expected to run until October 17, and will focus on vaccinating people over 60 and healthcare workers who have not yet received the jab.

SA recently received the first batch of 325,260 doses of Pfizer BioNTech’s double-shot vaccines, with health minister Zweli Mkhize expecting about the same number of doses to arrive on a weekly basis to total more than 1.3 million doses by the end of May.

May 11 2021 - 08:45

Argentina confirms first cases of Covid-19 variants from India, South Africa

Argentina's Health Ministry on Monday confirmed its first cases of the more contagious Covid-19 variants discovered in India and South Africa in three travelers returning to the South American country from Europe.

The Indian variant of the coronavirus was detected in two minors who returned from Paris, while the South African variant was found in a 58-year-old passenger returning from Spain, the ministry said in a statement.

The three passengers arrived at Buenos Aires' international airport on April 24 and were quarantined in a hotel.

May 11 2021 - 08:44

Queen Elizabeth to set out UK government's post-pandemic agenda

Britain's Queen Elizabeth will present Prime Minister Boris Johnson's post-pandemic agenda on Tuesday in a speech written by the government that will set out the new laws that ministers intend to pass in the coming year.

The grand 'State Opening of Parliament', a heavily choreographed and costumed ceremony led by the 95-year-old monarch, will this year involve face masks, social distancing, and fewer guests.

The speech will set out Johnson's policymaking priorities as he plans Britain's recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and seeks to fulfil the promises he made to voters in 2019 on creating new opportunities for left-behind regions and communities.

May 11 2021 - 07:00

New Covid-19 variants in the mix, an imminent third wave, how will SA survive this?

The detection of two new variants to our shores has shaken the foundation of the latest modelling on Covid-19 in SA.

Top scientists take part in modelling Covid-19 so that the rest of us can get a sense of what to expect when, and the government can respond accordingly, but even at its best modelling is beset with so many variables that the data are never definitive.

In the case of the latest “third wave” estimates, released by the SA Covid-19 Modelling Consortium last week, it was emphasised that none of the five scenarios they generated included the presence of a new variant.