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COVID-19 WRAP | One in three 'likely to have Covid-19', says Makhura as stats show 9,500 new cases in Gauteng

24 June 2021 - 05:50 By TimesLIVE
A youth accompanied by his mother receives a dose of Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine as the Chilean sanitary authority starts a vaccination campaign for people from 12 to 17 years old in Santiago, Chile June 23, 2021.
A youth accompanied by his mother receives a dose of Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine as the Chilean sanitary authority starts a vaccination campaign for people from 12 to 17 years old in Santiago, Chile June 23, 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

June 24 2021 - 19:51

One in three 'likely to have Covid-19', says Makhura as stats show 9,500 new cases in Gauteng

One in three people in Gauteng is “likely” to be infected with Covid-19, provincial premier David Makhura said on Thursday.

Gauteng has taken the brunt of the virus third wave, frequently accounting for upwards of 60% of new daily infections.

While the national positivity rate — the number of positive tests against the number of tests undergone in the same period — has been in the mid-to-high 20% range, that rate in Gauteng has been more than 30%.

June 24 2021 - 18:08

Nasrec field hospital reactivated as Gauteng's Covid-19 cases surge

The Nasrec Covid-19 field hospital will be reopened. This is according to Gauteng premier David Makhura, who was speaking on Thursday.

The provincial government closed the field hospital in February, saying there was no longer any scientific, statistical or clinical reason to keep it open.

Makhura said the provincial government was criticised when the field hospital closed down. “At that time we were being criticised heavily, even by political parties. When people are complying there will be less patients. We had to close it and it was said to be wasteful expenditure” he said.

June 24 2021 - 17:38

Cyril Ramaphosa appointed AU’s 'Covid-19 champion'

In recognition of President Cyril Ramaphosa's efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the AU Bureau of Assembly of Heads of States and Government appointed him its champion on Covid-19.

The appointment was initially made at the 34th ordinary session of the AU held on February 6, the Presidency said on Thursday.

After his appointment, Ramaphosa established the commission on African Covid-19 response, which he chairs. His deputy is Dr John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

June 24 2021 - 17:30

Western Cape town in voluntary isolation as Covid-19 cases surge

A farming community about five hours’ drive north of Cape Town has closed its only food store and its school after residents agreed to a self-imposed stay-at-home order.

Kliprand is in its second week of isolation after almost a quarter of its 250 residents tested positive for Covid-19.

With the closest hospital about two hours away and a round trip costing about R400, for many residents the risks involved in trying to get the medical care they might urgently require are too high. In any case, the hospital may be full just when they need it. At the time the shutdown started, there were only about 15 beds free.

June 24 2021 - 17:23

'We cannot afford to shut down the economy': David Makhura

Gauteng premier David Makhura says the provincial government is working with the private sector and NGOs to boost personnel and bed capacity in the province.

During a provincial command briefing on Thursday, Makhura noted the increase in the number of hospital admissions, which now stands at 5,842.

“Looking at these numbers, it is clear that the bed spaces are taken. We are working with the private sector and NGOs to enhance personnel and bed capacity. I meet regularly with the private healthcare management to better manage bed capacity in the province.

June 24 2021 - 16:01

Confirmed Covid-19 infections may be tip of the iceberg in Gauteng

While 10,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases reported on Tuesday were alarming, the Gauteng health department on Thursday said the number of people unknowingly carrying the virus was likely much higher.

Presenting the latest figures, the department said on Tuesday alone they had recorded the highest number of tests since the start of the pandemic: 30,000. They had also registered the highest number of positive cases in the province since the pandemic started.

But scores more people, potentially exposed to the virus, may not yet have reached testing centres.

June 24 2021 - 15:40

Covid-19 third wave is overwhelming many of Africa's hospitals

Hospitals in Africa are being overwhelmed by severe cases of Covid-19 in a surging third wave — the most severe to date — on the continent, says Dr John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

“At least 20 countries are fully in the middle of the third wave and the peak of the third wave is remarkably higher than the peak of the second wave,” he warned at a weekly coronavirus briefing on Thursday.

“The third wave is more severe and has consequences in health systems being overwhelmed.”

June 23 2021 - 14:57

Five things you need to know right now about Covid-19 in SA

Looking at national trends, the South African Covid-19 Modelling Consortium says all provinces except Limpopo, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are in the third wave of the pandemic, and those three are on a trajectory to enter it soon too.

Gauteng is the “biggest concern” but numbers are accelerating nationally.

The Western Cape was ahead of the curve in the first wave of Covid-19. Now, as the third wave engulfs the country, with Gauteng way ahead of the curve this time, lessons from the Western Cape are applicable to all provinces.

June 23 2021 - 13:00

Cleric jailed for four years over spread of false Covid-19 information in Indonesia

An Indonesian court jailed hardline Islamic cleric Rizieq Shihab on Thursday for four years for spreading false information in a video saying he was healthy despite having tested positive for Covid-19.

The verdict comes after an eight-month jail term handed last month to Rizieq, the spiritual leader of the outlawed Islamic Defender's Front (FPI), for breaching coronavirus curbs over several mass events, including his daughter's wedding, which was attended by thousands.

Prosecutors had called for a six-year sentence in the latest case after Rizieq was charged over the video, posted on the YouTube channel of the hospital where he was being treated for the coronavirus.

June 23 2021 - 11:00

SGB teachers 'turned away' at Durban vaccine site

Teachers who arrived at Pinetown Civic Centre, outside Durban, for their Covid-19 vaccines on Wednesday claim they were turned away because they did not have “Persal” — Personnel and Salary System — numbers.

This is because they are employed by school governing bodies, not the provincial department of education, and so they don’t receive a government payslip.

Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu, with health MEC Nomagugu Simelane, led the vaccination drive launch for teachers in the province on Wednesday.

June 23 2021 - 10:55

750,000-jab target for vaccination site at Cape Town convention centre

The mass Covid-19 vaccination site at Cape Town International Convention Centre will administer 750,000 jabs over six months.

This was announced on Thursday by the three partners who will run the site: the Western Cape government, the City of Cape Town and Discovery Health.

The site's 50 vaccination stations will open early in July and operate until December under the initial contracts.

“By collaborating in this way, the CTICC will be one of the largest and most sophisticated vaccination sites in the country, leveraging the resources and capacity of both the public and private sector and thereby accelerating access to vaccination for greater numbers of residents,” said a joint statement.

June 23 2021 - 08:40

Britain wants to allow people to travel again

Britain wants to return to a position that allows people to travel abroad again for a foreign holiday but new variants of the novel coronavirus are complicating the easing, Environment Secretary George Eustice said on Thursday.

Asked if Brits would be able to enjoy a foreign holiday on Spanish islands this year amid speculation that restrictions on travel to Ibiza and Mallorca could be eased, Eustice said:

"Well, personally I want us to get back to a position where we can support those who want to travel to do so, nobody likes the draconian restrictions we've had to put in place over this last year."


June 23 2021 - 07:47

More than 48,000 teachers and school staff vaccinated on first day of rollout programme

More than 48,000 teachers and school staff were inoculated on the first day of the vaccination rollout programme aimed at staff in the basic education sector, with KwaZulu-Natal recording the highest number of jabs administered. 

Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said in some provinces, educators had rushed to the vaccination sites because of misinformation.

“A WhatsApp message was circulated in some provinces claiming that the Department of Health was going to run out of vaccines. This led to a rush on some vaccine sites, particularly in the Eastern Cape, North West and Free State provinces,” Mhlanga said.


June 23 2021 - 06:49

'There was this relaxed attitude': MAC advisers say government did not listen to third wave warning

The government was repeatedly warned about the impending third Covid-19 wave and told to set up field hospitals over fears that health facilities would quickly become overwhelmed — but they simply didn’t listen.

This is the shocking revelation by two health experts, speaking to eNCA on Wednesday night.

Prof Rudo Mathivha, director of critical care medicine at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, and Prof Kholeka Mlisana, co-chair of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19, were scathing of health authorities’ failure to listen to the warnings. As a result, they said, hospitals were full and people were dying.

June 23 2021 - 06:49

Brazilian Senate to grill Google, Facebook, Twitter in Covid-19 probe

A Brazilian Senate committee on Wednesday formally approved a request to call representatives of Alphabet Inc's Google, Facebook and Twitter to testify in an ongoing probe into the government's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Senators want to look into what role the companies had in helping to spread potentially dangerous misinformation during the pandemic.

June 23 2021 - 05:50

Brazil sets new single-day record with over 115,000 new Covid-19 cases

Brazil registered a single-day record of 115,228 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday, along with 2,392 deaths from COVID-19.

Brazil has registered more than 18 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 507,109, according to ministry data.