COVID-19 LIVE WRAP | 479,768 people vaccinated under the Sisonke Programme

18 May 2021 - 17:18 By TimesLIVE
Harveer Singh, 65, a villager suffering from Covid-19 sits in a cot as he receives treatment at a makeshift open-air clinic in Mewla Gopalgarh village, in Jewar district, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, on May 16 2021.
Harveer Singh, 65, a villager suffering from Covid-19 sits in a cot as he receives treatment at a makeshift open-air clinic in Mewla Gopalgarh village, in Jewar district, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, on May 16 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

May 18 2021 - 22:21

2,355 new Covid-19 cases, 80 deaths recorded in 24 hours

SA recorded 2,355 new Covid-19 cases and 80 pandemic-related deaths in the past 24 hours, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Tuesday.

May 18 2021 - 22:00

Texas governor bars mask mandates for schools other government entities

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday ordered all government entities in the state, including school districts, to lift mask mandates by week's end, though existing guidelines for face-coverings in schools may remain in effect through June 4. 


May 18 2021 - 20:42

Fragrance expert helps Covid-19 patients learn to smell again

After 13-year-old Sahil Shah lost his sense of smell to Covid-19 in November, his parents looked everywhere for help. 

“We met with neurologists, neurosurgeons, ENT specialists, and all of them said if it was supposed to come back, it would have come back by now,” said Sahil's father, Pratik Shah.

May 18 2021 - 20:20

France reports 4,015 people in intensive care units with Covid-19

The pressure on French hospitals from the coronavirus epidemic eased further on Tuesday with the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units (ICU) down by 171 to 4,015, as the country prepares for a new easing of coronavirus constraints.

From Wednesday, non-essential retail outlets will be able to reopen to customers for the first time in six weeks as France gradually winds down its third national lockdown in little more than a year.

The daily Covid-19 death tally in hospitals increased by 187 to 81,692, compared with an increase of 196 on Monday.

The ministry also reported 17,210 new cases on Tuesday versus 3,350 on Monday, bringing the total tally to 5.89 million cases. There are less cases reported on Mondays as less testing is carried out during the weekend.


May 18 2021 - 17:24

CDC study finds that 39% of rural residents received vaccine compared to 46% of urban residents

A CDC study has found that 39% of rural residents in the US received a Covid-19 vaccine compared to 46% of urban residents.

The study said rural communities often have a higher proportion of residents over 65 years old, lacking health insurance, living with underlying medical conditions or disabilities, and having limited access to healthcare facilities with intensive care capabilities, which may make residents of rural communities more likely to get sick or die from Covid-19.

A new CDC study finds that as of April 10, 2021, 39% of rural residents received a COVID-19 vaccine compared to 46% of...

Posted by CDC on Tuesday, May 18, 2021

May 18 2021 - 17:15

Ukraine's parliament dismisses health minister over Covid response

Ukraine's parliament voted on Tuesday to fire Health Minister Maksym Stepanov, accusing him of the failures in the country's vaccination campaign and its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ukraine is among the European countries most affected by the pandemic but is lagging in its vaccination efforts, with only 948,330 Ukrainians having received their first vaccine dose as of May 18.

The country of 41 million people has registered more than 2 million infections and 48,469 deaths since the start of the pandemic last year.


May 18 2021 - 17:10

Italy reports 201 coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, 4,452 new cases

 Italy reported 201 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday against 140 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 4,452 from 3,455.

Italy has registered 124,497 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.17 million cases to date.

Patients in hospital with Covid-19 - not including those in intensive care - stood at 11,539 on Tuesday, down from 12,024 a day earlier.

There were 86 new admissions to intensive care units, up from 69 on Monday. The total number of intensive care patients fell to 1,689 from a previous 1,754.

Some 262,864 tests for Covid-19 were carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 118,924, the health ministry said. 


May 18 2021 - 16:48

Rising Covid-19 load and protests put Free State hospitals under strain

Hospitals and healthcare workers face a twin onslaught as Covid-19 infections and deaths increase in the Free State and a violent service delivery protest causes major disruptions in Mangaung.

The province had 5,811 active cases and recorded 30 additional Covid-19 related deaths on Monday.

Mediclinic Bloemfontein private hospital alone had 81 Covid-19 patients and only two beds available in the ward at midday on Tuesday. Hospital spokesperson Barbara Steenkamp said there were no ICU beds available.

May 18 2021 - 14:17

Vaccine rollout runs into teething problems from load-shedding to protests

Load-shedding and protest action in areas of the country have contributed to teething problems experienced during the nationwide phase 2 vaccine rollout. 

This was revealed by health minister Zweli Mkhize, who was speaking at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, on Tuesday. 

May 18 2021 - 14:03

Sweden reports 10,017 new cases, 26 deaths since Friday

Sweden, which has shunned lockdowns throughout the pandemic, has registered 10,017 new coronavirus cases since Friday, health agency statistics showed on Tuesday.

The figure compared with 13,812 cases during the corresponding period last week.

The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 26 new deaths, taking the total to 14,301. The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks.

Sweden's death rate per capita is many times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours' but lower than in most European countries that opted for lockdowns.


May 18 2021 - 12:49

Malaysia reports record Covid-19 deaths for second successive day

Malaysia on Tuesday reported 47 new coronavirus deaths, a new record in fatalities for a second successive day.

The health ministry also reported new infections of 4,865, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 479,421.


May 18 2021 - 12:24

Biden to send 20 million doses of US-authorised vaccines abroad for first time

President Joe Biden will send at least 20 million more Covid-19 vaccine doses abroad by the end of June, marking the first time the US is sharing vaccines authorised for domestic use.

The move marks a notable pivot from the White House as the administration seeks to use the country's vaccine supply as a diplomatic tool with the pandemic outlook brightening at home.

Biden announced on Monday that his administration will send doses of the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE, Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, on top of 60 million AstraZeneca Plc doses he had already planned to give to other countries.

Unlike the others, AstraZeneca's shot is not yet authorised for use in the US.


May 18 2021 - 09:58

Tanzanian experts say Covid-19 vaccines safe, recommend joining Covax

Experts appointed by Tanzania's new president have declared Covid-19 vaccines to be effective and recommended joining the Covax facility that shares the inoculations, in the latest sign suggesting official scepticism about the pandemic is waning.

The recommendations by a coronavirus committee formed in April by President Samia Suluhu Hassan were given by the chair of the group at a press conference at State House in Dar es Salaam on Monday.

In its other recommendations, the experts proposed the government publish accurate statistics on the disease and urged that any alternative medicines pass scientific standards.

May 18 2021 - 09:58

China's Clover says its Covid-19 vaccine candidate shows immune response in mice

Chinese biotechnology company Clover Biopharmaceuticals said on Tuesday the modified version of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate showed a strong immune response against the original strain of the virus and some variants during animal testing.

Clover said in a statement its vaccine candidate demonstrated a “neutralisation” against the SA, Brazilian and UK variants among mice.

May 18 2021 - 08:49

India's tally of coronavirus infections crosses 25m

India's total coronavirus cases surged past the 25 million mark on Tuesday, boosted by 263,533 new infections over the last 24 hours, while deaths from Covid-19 rose by a record 4,329.

India becomes the world's second nation, after the US, to pass the grim milestone.

The country's total caseload is now at 25.23 million, while the death toll is at 278,719, according to health ministry data. 

May 18 2021 - 07:10

Are you on Discovery? Here's what to expect from phase 2 of the vaccine rollout

Medical aid scheme Discovery has transformed its Sandton head office in Johannesburg into a vaccination centre with 30 administrators who are equipped to adminsister over 2,500 vaccines daily.

This is according to a communique issued to Discovery beneficiaries by company CEO Adrian Gore ahead of the launch of its mass vaccinations on Monday. 

In March, Discovery announced an ambitious target to inoculate 3 million members from May. It said it would vaccinate 550,000 high-risk members within a few weeks, and members over 60 and people with underlying conditions by the end of June.