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COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 72 new Covid-19 deaths as cases rise to 1,637,848

24 May 2021 - 07:00 By TimesLIVE
A protester with a placard reading "What kind of world do you want to live in?" is detained by police during a demonstration against the government measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease, in Berlin, Germany, on May 23 2021.
A protester with a placard reading "What kind of world do you want to live in?" is detained by police during a demonstration against the government measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease, in Berlin, Germany, on May 23 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Christian Mang

May 24 2021 - 21:51

SA records 2,300 new Covid-19 cases as positivity rate passes 10%

SA recorded 2,383 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, but it is confirmation that the positivity rate had climbed past 10% that would be most worrying.

According to health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, the new infections came from 23,352 tests at a positivity rate of 10.2%. 

The government has previously expressed concern when the positivity rate — the number of positive tests against the number of tests taken in the same period — reaches the 10% and 12% marks.

May 24 2021 - 16:49

Gauteng doubles vaccination sites as it ramps up rollout

The Gauteng health department has increased the number of its Covid-19 vaccination sites from 28 to 63 sites in an effort to ramp up its rollout efforts.

The department said the extra sites would ensure that more people who were 60 and older would get vaccinated.

The sites are spread across the five regions of the province: Johannesburg (18), Tshwane (14), Ekurhuleni (14), West Rand (10) and Sedibeng (7).

May 24 2021 - 14:46

Liquor traders want to meet Ramaphosa ahead of possible booze sales ban

Anxious liquor traders want to meet President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss the best response to the rising number of Covid-19 infections ahead of a possible alcohol sales ban.

The National Liquor Traders Council and the Liquor Traders Association of SA are worried that another ban could be implemented.

Lucky Ntimane, convener of the liquor traders council, said in a letter to Ramaphosa that they would like to find sustainable solutions and support government efforts to combat the pandemic in every way possible.

May 24 2021 - 12:42

Covid-19 third wave looming in the WC? Alan Winde says the province has enough hospital beds

Western Cape premier Alan Winde says the province is seeing a resurgence in Covid-19 infections and may experience a third wave in two to three weeks' time.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Winde said the province has enough beds should hospital admissions rise in the projected time.

“I can confirm that the Western Cape has sufficient bed capacity to respond to the resurgence in Covid-19 cases and, through previous investments during this pandemic, can bring online additional bed capacity where and when needed,” said Winde.

May 24 2021 - 11:50

Netcare returns to profit as it adapts to Covid-19

Netcare, SA’s third-largest private hospital operator by market value, says it managed to return to profit in its first half to end-March, despite a severe second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Netcare, whose focus is almost entirely on SA, said better management and protocols helped it post a R375m profit in its 2021 half year from a loss of R196m in the previous six months.

The pandemic hit SA hospitals hard, with many patients staying away and deferring elective surgeries. Covid-19 has also prompted additional expenditure on equipment, health and safety, while other effects have included a fall in revenue from coffee shops and parking fees.

May 24 2021 - 11:49

Michigan governor issues apology for apparent social distancing violation

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an apology on Sunday after an image showed her to be apparently violating state-mandated social distancing guidelines at an East Lansing restaurant.

A photo circulated on social media of Whitmer with a large group of unmasked people at the Landshark Bar & Grill.

The photo, which showed Whitmer seated with about a dozen people at no fewer than three tables that had been pushed together, was posted on social media by one of the attendees, but later deleted, according to the Detroit Free Press.

May 24 2021 - 11:31

Africa should get a bigger slice of IMF and World Bank funding: Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa is pushing for African countries to receive substantial funding from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to aid recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic. 

On Monday, he said $162.5bn (about R2.3 trillion) should be made available instead of the $33bn (about R462bn) which has been proposed from the “special drawing rights” which will be released to increase reserves of African countries.  

Ramaphosa shared these sentiments in his weekly newsletter after attending a Paris Summit where African leaders discussed the finances of their countries.

May 24 2021 - 10:37

Israel to end Covid-19 restrictions after vaccine success

Israel will end local Covid-19 restrictions following a successful vaccine rollout that has nearly stamped out new infections, the country's Health Ministry said on Sunday.

With the majority of the population having received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and about 92% of those 50 and older inoculated or recovered, Israel has been gradually reopening its economy after three lockdowns.

The country reported just 12 new virus cases on Saturday, down from a daily peak of more than 10,000 in January.

May 24 2021 - 10:27

Thuli Madonsela reiterates calls for extension of R350 grant

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela is not giving up on the fight to extend the social relief of distress (SRD) grant.​

The R350 monthly grant was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last year to help those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, and was meant for unemployed citizens and qualifying foreign citizens.

The grant was allocated R2.1bn by the National Treasury to extend it until the end of April, and Madonsela has joined calls for it to be extended again.

May 24 2021 - 08:33

Indian state unable to obtain Covid-19 shots directly from Moderna

An Indian state looking to procure Covid-19 shots to combat a nationwide surge in infections on Sunday said that US vaccine maker Moderna had declined to supply its shots and said it can only deal with the federal government.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened vaccinations to all adults from May 1 and allowed states to make their own arrangements to supplement stocks they received from the federal government. But India is facing a shortage of vaccines, with domestic production amounting to about 80 million doses a month.

The northern state of Punjab said that Moderna "refused" to send vaccines to the state government, citing a company policy that allows it to deal only with Modi's federal administration and not with state authorities or private parties.

May 24 2021 - 07:00

Total number of people vaccinated under the Sisonke Programme almost at 500,000 mark: Health department