COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 44 new deaths as total cases exceed 1,6 million

13 May 2021 - 07:15 By TimesLIVE
Filipino Muslims shop at a street market ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Quiapo, Manila, Philippines, on May 12 2021.
Filipino Muslims shop at a street market ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Quiapo, Manila, Philippines, on May 12 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

May 14 2021 - 22:31

SA records more than 3,000 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours

For the first time in more than three months, more than 3,000 new Covid-19 cases were recorded in SA in 24 hours.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday that 3,221 new cases were recorded — the first time this mark has been breached since February 10 when 3,159 cases were recorded.

The new cases came from 42,073 tests at a positivity rate of 7.65% — a rate which has been steadily rising in recent days. The department has previously expressed concern when the positivity rate — which is the number of positive results against the number of tests taken in a 24-hour period — reaches the 10% and 12% marks. 

May 14 2021 - 17:02

Mkhize's juggling act to prioritise funds for Covid-19 pandemic

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has told parliament that his department will spend another R9bn to continue the fight against Covid-19.

Mkhize was addressing the National Assembly during a debate on the 2021/2022 budget for his department.

Mkhize revealed that most of his department's service delivery projects have had to be pushed back to reprioritise resources towards fighting the pandemic. 

May 14 2021 - 16:34

WATCH | Confusion and no social distancing as health workers queue for Covid-19 vaccines

Chaotic scenes played out at some hospitals around the country on Thursday when hundreds of healthcare workers caused traffic jams and congregated to receive their Covid-19 vaccination.

The police had to turn away scores of people from at least one hospital who did not meet the criteria to be vaccinated against Covid-19 under the Sisonke Johnson & Johnson trial.

There has been an influx of people, fuelled by misleading information shared on social media, attempting to get the jab by “gaming the system” used to register. 

May 14 2021 - 14:06

Billionaire offers R3bn to help SA develop vaccines

Patrick Soon-Shiong, a SA-American transplant surgeon, billionaire businessman, bioscientist, and media mogul, has offered R3bn to catalyse vaccine development capacity in the country and Africa, including development of second-generation Covid-19 vaccines. 

This is according to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation, and the SA mission to the UN in Geneva.

The diplomatic service said Soon-Shiong's corporation and philanthropic foundation “would commit an initial R3bn to SA to transfer the latest technology for producing vaccines and biological therapies”.

May 14 2021 - 14:04

SA's Covid-19 death toll among worst in world, far higher than official tally

A report into excess deaths over the past year suggests more than 133,000 people in SA have died from Covid-19, far more than the official tally of nearly 55,000.

The SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) has been monitoring excess deaths since May 2020.

In its latest report, published on Wednesday, the SAMRC said SA had seen 157,000 excess deaths in the past 12 months and estimated that 85% of them were caused by Covid-19, which means just over 133,000 people have died from the disease.

May 14 2021 - 13:23

Thailand reports record Covid-19 infections after prison clusters

Thailand announced a daily record in new coronavirus cases on Thursday after clusters in two jails saw nearly 3,000 inmates infected, among them a leader of anti-government protests held while awaiting trial for insulting the king.

Authorities reported 32 Covid-19 deaths and 4,887 infections, a new daily high in cases after 2,835 prisoners were added to the tally following the mass testing of thousands of inmates in two Bangkok jails.

A corrections department official said those infected included Panupong "Mike Rayong" Jadnok, 24, who has been held since March 8 on charges that include sedition and insulting King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

May 13 2021 - 13:14

Egypt receives 1.7 mln AstraZeneca vaccine doses through Covax

Egypt has received a batch of more than 1.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the Covax initiative, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Egypt received its first Covax delivery of 854,000 AstraZeneca doses at the start of April. It has also received several batches of the Sinopharm vaccine from China, bringing the total number of vaccine doses delivered to 5 million, the health ministry said.

Egypt, with a population of just over 100 million, is trying to contain a third wave of Covid-19 infections and the government has put in place some restrictive measures until May 21, shortening opening hours and banning large gatherings.

May 13 2021 - 12:12

Frontline workers queue outside an vaccination station in Gatesville, Cape Town

May 13 2021 - 11:47

Covid-19 deaths exhausted gas supply at embattled Durban crematorium, says municipality

Cremations at the Mobeni Heights Crematorium in Durban had to be suspended again recently because the high number of Covid-19 deaths had exhausted the facility's gas reserves.

This is according to the eThekwini municipality, which announced late on Wednesday that the facility, which serves many communities in the south Durban region, would resume operations on Thursday.

“The city would like to thank residents for their patience while the city was dealing with the issue of gas shortages, which were due to the high number of burials as a result Covid-19 which alarmingly exhausted the facility’s gas reserves,” the municipality said in a statement.

May 13 2021 - 11:46

Act now to prevent third wave, NICD warns as new Covid-19 infections rise

A rapid increase in the percentage of South Africans testing positive for Covid-19 is a cause for concern, says the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

Data from the last reporting week, May 3-9, showed an overall 46% new case increase in comparison to the previous reporting week, with the Northern Cape (68%), Gauteng (63%) and Limpopo (47%) topping the list.

Though there has not been an increase in hospital admissions, Covid-19-related deaths increased by 18% compared to the previous week, said the NICD.

May 13 2021 - 11:37

Australia in talks to produce Moderna shots onshore

Australia is in 'active talks' with Covid-19 vaccine maker Moderna to establish a domestic manufacturing facility for shots, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

More than 4,000 Indians die of Covid-19 for second straight day

India recorded more than 4,000 Covid-19 deaths for a second straight day on Thursday, while infections stayed below 400,000 for a fourth day, though the virus has become rampant in rural areas where cases can go unreported due to a lack of testing.

Experts remain unsure when numbers will peak and concern is growing about the transmissibility of the variant that is driving infections in India and spreading worldwide.

Bhramar Mukherjee, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan, said most models had predicted a peak this week and that the country could be seeing signs of that trend.

Still, the number of new cases each day is large enough to overwhelm hospitals, she said on Twitter. “The key word is cautious optimism.”

May 13 2021 - 10:49

CDC panel clears way to Covid-19 vaccines for US adolescents

US states are set to begin using the vaccine from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE to inoculate young adolescents against Covid-19 after advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) backed the plan in a unanimous vote on Wednesday.

The US Food and Drug Administration on Monday authorised the vaccine for children aged 12 to 15, offering relief to parents eager to get their children back to schools and summer camps. The action by the CDC group is an important, but not required, final seal of federal regulatory approval.

The youngest age previously approved for the Pfizer vaccine was 16 years old.

May 13 2021 - 08:00

Brazil suspends AstraZeneca use in pregnant women

Brazil nationally suspended the vaccination of pregnant women with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 shot, after an expectant mother in Rio de Janeiro died from a stroke possibly related to the inoculation. Authorities are investigating the incident.

May 13 2021 - 07:55

US COVID deaths hit lowest level in 10 months

Posted by First Coast News on Wednesday, May 12, 2021

May 13 2021 - 07:45

How to stop the next pandemic? WHO panel advises

A WHO review panel said a new global system should be set up to respond faster to disease outbreaks, which could ensure that no future virus causes a pandemic as devastating as Covid-19

May 13 2021 - 07:35

St John's and Krugersdorp High closed temporarily after Covid-19 cases detected

Two Gauteng schools have been closed after Covid-19 cases were detected.

“We can confirm that a decision has been made, in consultation with the DoH [department of health], district directors and GDE [Gauteng department of education] management, to suspend academic activities at Krugersdorp High School and St John’s College as a means of managing the discovery of several Covid-19 cases in each school,” said education spokesperson Steve Mabona.

He said 11 cases were detected at Krugersdorp High school, while St John’s College had six positive cases.

May 13 2021 - 07:26

Pandemic knocks out Japanese boxer's Olympic dream

Japanese nurse Arisa Tsubata trained around her work shifts for over a year to prepare for a final Olympic boxing qualifier. Unfortunately, her #Tokyo2020 dreams have been crushed as the qualifying rounds were canceled due to the global health crisis.

May 13 2021 - 07:00

The third wave is not upon us just yet: health department

The rising number of Covid-19 cases across SA was “worrying”, the health department said on Wednesday night — but the country wasn't yet in the pandemic's third wave.

In a statement, the department said that it had noticed in increase in the weekly number of new cases over the past seven and 14 days compared to the previous corresponding periods, with all provinces showing an increase — particularly the North West and Gauteng. There was also an increase in the number of Covid-19 related deaths over the past seven days.

But these increases, the department said, were not yet pointing towards the “resurgence threshold” having been met.

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