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COVID-19 WRAP | SA records nearly 500 new Covid-19 related deaths

06 July 2021 - 05:55 By TimesLIVE
People wearing protective masks queue to refill oxygen tanks as Indonesia experiences an oxygen supply shortage amid a surge of coronavirus disease cases, at a filling station in Jakarta, Indonesia, on July 5 2021.
People wearing protective masks queue to refill oxygen tanks as Indonesia experiences an oxygen supply shortage amid a surge of coronavirus disease cases, at a filling station in Jakarta, Indonesia, on July 5 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

July 06 2021 - 20:32

Municipal officials batten down the hatches as Covid-19 stalks George

Municipal officials in the Western Cape town of George are hunkering down as the town reels under a third wave of Covid-19 infections.

Some 36 municipal employees are infected, while a further 30 were isolating at home due to possible exposure, the municipality said. Two officials died in the past week, bringing to nine the number of employees the municipality has lost to the pandemic.

The two most recent deaths were Melvin Jansen, the acting supervisor of the cemeteries department, and Freddy Booysen, a civil engineer and 35-year veteran of the municipality who worked in the sewer network department.

July 06 2021 - 19:42

SA records 457 Covid-19 deaths and 15,500 cases in 24 hours

This was the most deaths in a single day since February 2, when 547 fatalities were recorded.

The latest deaths mean that there have now been 62,628 deaths recorded across SA since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March last year. The NICD also reported on Tuesday that there were 15,501 Covid-19 infections recorded in the past day, meaning that there have been 2,090,909 total cases recorded to date.

July 06 2021 - 18:25

The next Covid-19 variant to watch like a hawk: the highly transmissible 'Lambda'

SA is buckling under the weight of the Delta variant that has fuelled the Covid-19 third wave, but now another variant known as Lambda — and that's possibly even more transmissible — has surfaced.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Lambda variant was first detected in Peru but quickly spread to more than 30 countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom.

The WHO has it pegged as a “variant of interest” — as opposed to a “variant of concern” — but this could change quickly as scientists are alarmed by its unusual mutations.

July 06 2021 - 16:18

South Africans more generous in Covid-19 times, new study finds

South Africans became more charitable while Covid-19 affected global generosity.

A new global study shows SA moved from 45 to 21 out of 114 countries on the World Giving Index.

For the first time since the survey, run by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), began, five major western economies have fallen off the list of the top 10 most generous countries.

July 06 2021 - 15:59

Nice for some: Short-term insurance industry makes record profits, thanks to the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has proved to be very lucrative indeed for SA’s short-term insurers, yet some remain loathe or very slow to pay business-interruption claims to clients who have been crippled by the series of restrictive lockdowns.

This emerged at a media briefing hosted by Insurance Claims Africa (ICA), a specialist public loss-adjuster representing about 850 claimants in the tourism and hospitality sector in their battle to get large insurers to pay out on business-interruption claims.

The company commissioned research aimed at establishing whether the short-term insurance industry was in a sufficiently sound financial disposition to afford business-interruption claims.

July 06 2021 - 15:51

Cape Town's mass vaccination site to open with 700 jabs on Wednesday

Up to 4,000 people a day are set to be vaccinated against Covid-19 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), the Western Cape’s largest vaccination site.

Speaking at the site on Tuesday, premier Alan Winde said more than 700 jabs will be administered when it opens on Wednesday.

The site — a partnership between the provincial government, the City of Cape Town and Discovery Health — will vaccinate anyone over 50 but priority will be given to over-60s, including walk-ins.

July 06 2021 - 15:25

‘Variant of interest’: 5 things you need to know about the Lambda variant

A new Covid-19 variant is causing concern around the world at an alarming rate.  

Lambda has been making news headlines this week after the New York Post claimed the highly contagious variant may be resistant to vaccines. 

July 06 2021 - 15:18

WATCH | Alpha, Beta and Delta: What we should know about the Covid-19 variants in SA

On June 27 President Cyril Ramaphosa announced measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, including suspension of alcohol sales and dining at restaurants for two weeks to minimise the impact of the third wave of infections.

Scientists said the third wave of infections is being driven by the Delta variant first found in India.

Can we stop the coronavirus from mutating into new variants?

July 06 2021 - 15:12

NPA wants health department to prioritise its employees for vaccination

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it is in talks with the national department of health to prioritise vaccinating its staff who are essential workers.

“We have been engaging with the department of health for the NPA to be regarded as essential services, to be moved up in terms of vaccinations. We are hoping that will be rolled out very soon because it is having a serious impact on capacity and delivery,” said NPA head Shamila Batohi.

Batohi and other law enforcement heads, including Hawks boss Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya and the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) advocate Andy Mothibi, appeared before parliament’s standing committee on public accounts to provide a joint update on investigations.

July 06 2021 - 13:52

‘We don’t know what we bring home to our families’: Cops’ relief at vaccine rollout

With police officers risking their lives when enforcing law and order on the frontline during the pandemic, they believe they now have a booster shot at survival with the Covid-19 vaccine.

“I have lots of fears around the vaccine and we hear a lot of theories around it, but we can’t deny people are dying and we need all the help we can get,” police officer Lowellan West told TimesLIVE.

“I’m glad the vaccine is finally available to police officers. I feel we should have been part of the first [cohort] to get it because we never had an opportunity to work from home. During lockdown we had to continue to work.”

July 06 2021 - 12:26

'The biggest impact is on staff': Taking some Covid-19 heat in cold kitchens

They thought it would be "just an adjustment" to curfew and alcohol sales, but the door was also slammed on culinary giants.

Chef David Higgs had to shut down both his restaurants, the Saints and Marble in Johannesburg. "Our food is not geared for takeaway. We do fine dining," he said.

"The biggest impact is on our 100 staff.

July 06 2021 - 12:19

Delta now dominant variant at Western Cape wastewater treatment plants

The highly infectious Delta variant of Covid-19 has been detected in wastewater at 25 treatment plants in the Western Cape.

SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) scientists said they made the discovery after obtaining reagents to test for the Delta variant.

"[The team] detected it as the dominant variant in towns in the Breede Valley (Worcester, Rawsonville, Touws River and De Doorns), Theewaterskloof (Bot River and Villiersdorp) as well as in 19 wastewater treatment plants in the Cape Town metropole,” said Dr Rabia Johnson, deputy director of the SAMRC biomedical research and innovation platform.

July 06 2021 - 07:30

I have just tested positive for Covid-19, now what?

Testing positive for Covid-19 can bring a flood of emotions, from panic to anxiety, but healthcare professionals say it is important to keep a clear head and take some proactive steps to protect yourself and your family.

SA has seen a spike in Covid-19 infections over the past few weeks, with the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) reporting on Sunday a positivity rate of more than 30%. The rate measures the number of positive results against the number of tests taken in the same period.

Dr Marlin McKay, who runs his own medical practice in Roodepoort, told TimesLIVE that as more people test positive for the virus, it is important to keep calm and isolate.

July 06 2021 - 07:28

Booze industry lobbies Sars for big tax break as ban hammers revenue

As SA's booze ban enters its second week, the industry's biggest association is pleading with revenue service Sars to give it a tax holiday.

After the ban on alcohol sales announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on June 27, the SA Liquor Brandowners Association (Salba) said it was left with no choice but to beg Sars for extended payment terms on the excise duties that are due for collection.

“One of the few survival options to avoid short-term liquidity challenges is to hold back on accounts payable, of which monthly excise tax payments to Sars are a big chunk,” said Salba chair Sibani Mngadi. “We hope Sars will be understanding and grant us deferment of excise tax payable for the whole duration of the ban.”

June 06 2021 - 06:00

SAPS has 108 vaccination sites across SA to jab all its members 

July 06 2021 - 05:30