COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 9,700 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours: NICD

25 July 2021 - 06:00 By TimesLIVE
Acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said the government was targeting almost 400,000 daily by late August.
Acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said the government was targeting almost 400,000 daily by late August.
Image: 123RF/ JARUN ONTAKRAI/ File photo

July 25 2021 — 22:00

Vaccine doors to be opened to those aged 18 and older from September 1: Ramaphosa

All South Africans aged 18 and older will be able to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations from September 1, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday night.

Speaking during his address to the nation — in which he moved SA to lockdown alert level 3 and also announced a range of measures to assist an ailing country and population — the president said that this was possible due to the rapidly increasing number of people being vaccinated daily and also indications that the country has ample doses of the vaccine.

“As we have always said, our most effective weapon in the fight against Covid-19 is an effective and comprehensive vaccination programme,” he said. “In the last few weeks, our vaccination campaign has made huge strides. We are now administering more than 240,000 vaccines every weekday. A month ago, this figure stood at around 100,000 vaccines per weekday.”

July 25 2021 — 21:55

Booze & taverns are back as SA moves back to level 3

President Cyril Ramaphosa moved the country to alert level 3 on July 25 2021. The move includes lifting the ban on alcohol and allowing small gatherings.

The sale of alcohol for off-site consumption is allowed, from 10am to 6pm, from Monday to Thursday.

On-site sales and consumptions are allowed “as per licence conditions”, but must end by 8pm.

July 25 2021 — 21:37

IN FULL | President Cyril Ramaphosa moves SA back to level 3

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday moved SA back to alert level 3. This means that alcohol sales will be allowed, small gatherings can take place and interprovincial travel for leisure is back.

Below is a text of his full speech, as given to journalists. It is published here unedited.

July 25 2021 — 20:49

Curfew eased, booze back on sale and small gatherings allowed as SA goes back to level 3

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday moved SA back to alert level 3, meaning that alcohol sales will be allowed, gatherings can take place and interprovincial travel for leisure is back.

The nationwide curfew stays in place, from 10pm to 4am.

Ramaphosa said that non-essential establishments — including restaurants, taverns, bars and fitness centres — can open, but must close by 9pm.

July 25 2021 — 19:30

SA records 9,700 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours: NICD

SA recorded 9,718 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said on Sunday.

Gauteng accounted for 2,674 of those cases, followed closely by the Western Cape with 2,444 cases.

The new infections mean that there have been 2,377,823 cases recorded to date.

July 25 2021 — 19:02

Some Americans could need Covid-19 vaccine booster — Fauci

Top infectious disease official Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that Americans who are immune compromised may end up needing Covid-19 vaccine booster shots as the US deals with increasing cases from the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

“Those who are transplant patients, cancer chemotherapy, autoimmune diseases, that are on immunosuppressant regimens, those are the kind of individuals that if there's going to be a third booster, which might likely happen, would be among first the vulnerable,” Fauci said during a CNN interview.

He added health officials are also considering whether to revise mask guidance for vaccinated Americans saying it was “under active consideration.”

July 25 2021 — 16:12

Ramaphosa to address SA at 8.30pm on Sunday

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address SA at 8.30pm on Sunday, the presidency said.

The address comes exactly a month after level 4 lockdown restrictions — which included a tightening of the curfew, a ban on gatherings and prohibition on alcohol sales — kicked in, initially for a two-week period before being extended for another two weeks.

The Sunday Times reported that Ramaphosa was likely to ease some of the restrictions.

July 25 2021 — 15:25

Level 3 loading: Ramaphosa likely to lift booze ban, ease restrictions gatherings and allow travel to Gauteng

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to move the country to alert level 3, lifting the ban on alcohol and allowing for small gatherings when he addresses the nation on Sunday evening.

This comes as the Covid-19 third wave shows signs of easing and the government's vaccination rollout programme gains steam.

Presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale could not confirm the scheduled address. 

July 25 2021 — 13:30

China has given 1.5387 bn doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of July 24

China has administered a total of 1.5387 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of July 24, data from the National Health Commission showed on Sunday. 

Reuters

July 25 2021 — 13:15

July 25 2021 — 13:10

UK minister apologises for urging people not to 'cower from' Covid-19

British health minister Sajid Javid apologised for and deleted a tweet urging people to take a Covid-19 vaccine and not to “cower” from the virus, saying on Sunday he had made “a poor choice of word”.

Javid, who replaced Matt Hancock as health minister last month after his predecessor stepped down for breaking Covid-19 rules by kissing an aide in his office, had been criticised for using the word “cower” when tens of thousands in Britain have died from the virus and many are trying to keep safe.

Britain, which has one of the highest official Covid-19 death tolls, has shifted its strategy to fight coronavirus from using restrictions to limit its spread to opening up society in the hope vaccines will protect most people from serious illness.

Cases are high, but so is uptake of Covid-19 -19 vaccines, and officials argue the shift is needed to help businesses in sectors such as hospitality and the night-time economy.

July 25 2021 — 12:30

South Korea steps up Covid-19 curbs ahead of peak holiday season

 South Korea said on Sunday it will tighten social distancing rules across most of the country this week, warning that its worst-ever Covid-19 wave might spread further in the summer holiday season.

The curbs will be increased to Level 3 on a four-level scale, which will mean a 10pm dining curfew and ban on gatherings of more than four people, from Tuesday for two weeks for most areas except for some small counties.

“What's most concerning is the virus' recent spread in the non-capital areas,” President Moon Jae-in told an intra-agency meeting reviewing efforts in the campaign against the coronavirus.

“There has been an increase in movements nationwide, especially around vacation spots.”

South Korea managed to largely avoid major Covid-19 outbreaks with an extensive testing and tracing campaign for the first year of the pandemic.

But the latest spikes in infections have dented public confidence even though there have been relatively few critical cases and deaths.

The government early this month imposed the toughest Level 4 curbs, which include a ban on gatherings of more than two people after 6pm, in the capital Seoul and neighbouring areas.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Sunday reported 1,487 cases for Saturday, the highest increase recorded on any weekend.

South Korea's total infections have risen to 188,848, with 2,073 deaths.

Reuters

July 25 2021 — 12:15

Fears record Covid-19 deaths and infections could return to US  

New modelling suggests Covid-19 infections and deaths could soon return to peak levels in the US, fuelled by a Delta variant surge.  

July 25 2021 — 12:00

Merkel aide warns of Covid-19 surge in Germany over coming weeks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff fears the number of new coronavirus cases will soar in the next few weeks and could hit 100,000 a day by the end of September, causing big problems for many businesses, he told Bild am Sonntag weekly.

After more than two months of steady decline, cases have been rising in Europe's biggest economy since early July, due mainly to the spread of the more infectious Delta variant.

Merkel's chief of staff, Helge Braun, told Bild am Sonntag cases were increasing by 60% per week, even though nearly half the population has been fully vaccinated.

“If the Delta variant were to continue to spread at this rate and we don't counter it with a very high vaccination rate or change in behaviour, we would have an incidence of 850 (per 100,000 people) in just nine weeks,” he said.

“That would equate to 100,000 new infections a day,” he said, adding the effect would be huge as so many people would have to quarantine.”

The affect on work processes in factories would be massive. We are already seeing this in the UK,” he said.

The number of cases has risen by 1,387 in the last day to 3.76 million, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said on Sunday, with the 7-day incidence inching up to 13.8 per 100,000 people.

Braun urged Germans to get vaccinated. Around 60% of Germany's 83 million people have had a first shot and about 48% are fully vaccinated.

While Germany has made clear it will not force people to get vaccinated, Braun said those who refused would have to face some restrictions.”

This could mean some things such as restaurant, cinema and stadium visits would not be possible for tested unvaccinated people because the residual risk is too high,” he said, adding, however, that a full lockdown would probably not be needed.

Some 91,524 people have died of Covid-19 related causes in Germany.

Reuters

July 25 2021 — 11:30

Delta Variant vs Previous Covid-19 19 Infection vs. Vaccines 

Roger Seheult, MD of MedCram explains how “natural immunity” (from a previous Covid-19 infection) compares with vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca) VS. the Delta coronavirus variant.  

July 25 2021 — 11:00

UK health minister sparks fury by urging people not to 'cower from' Covid-19

British health minister Sajid Javid was accused of insulting coronavirus victims on Sunday after urging people to take a Covid-19 vaccine and “learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus”.

Javid, who replaced Matt Hancock as health minister last month after his predecessor stepped down for breaking Covid-19 rules by kissing an aide in his office, began his job by urging people to learn to live with the virus.

Britain, which has one of the highest official Covid-19 death tolls, has shifted its strategy to fight coronavirus from using restrictions to limit its spread to opening up society in the hope vaccines will protect most people from serious illness.

Cases are high, but so is uptake of Covid-19 vaccines, and officials argue the shift is needed to help businesses in sectors such as hospitality and the night-time economy.

Writing on Twitter, Javid said on Saturday he had recovered after testing positive for Covid-19. “Symptoms were very mild, thanks to amazing vaccines,” he said.”

Please — if you haven't yet — get your jab, as we learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus.

“Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour party, was one of several lawmakers from opposition parties and people who have lost family members to the pandemic to criticise his use of the phrase “cower from”.

“127,000 people have died from this virus, tens of thousands of whom would still be here if it wasn't for the catastrophic failures of your government,” she said on Twitter.

“So how dare you denigrate people for trying to keep themselves and their families safe.” Reuters

July 25 2021 — 10:30

Novel Coronavirus variants. Sars-CoV-2 variants/mutants. Are vaccines effective against variants?

What are novel coronavirus variants, how they originate? Are they deadly? Are vaccines effective against them? Do RT PCR and Rapid antigen test detect these variants?

July 25 2021 — 10:00

How are different nations tackling Covid-19 

While the world is grappling with Covid-19 let's take a look at some countries and their fight against the virus.

July 25 2021 — 09:15

Australians may face longer lockdown after 'reckless' mass protests

Australia's New South Wales logged its second-highest daily increase of the year in locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Sunday amid fears of a wave of new infections after thousands of people joined an anti-lockdown protest. 

“In relation to yesterday's protests, can I say how absolutely disgusted I was. It broke my heart,” Gladys Berejiklian, the premier of the country's most populous state, told reporters.

“I hope it won't be a setback, but it could be,” she said.

July 25 2021 — 08:43

US appeals court lifts CDC cruise ship restrictions in win for Florida

A federal appeals court late on Friday reversed course and let stand a lower court order prohibiting the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from enforcing coronavirus-related cruise ship rules in Florida.

The decision is a win for Florida that had filed a lawsuit arguing the CDC curbs made it tough for the cruise industry to recover from the pandemic.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta had only on Saturday voted 2-1 to block the lower court decision.

But in its latest brief statement, the three-judge appeals panel said it had withdrawn its earlier order on its own and was now rejecting the government's request because it had “failed to demonstrate an entitlement to a stay pending appeal.”

July 25 2021 — 07:15

India reports 39,742 new Covid-19 cases in last 24 hours 

India reported 39,742 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, a government statement said on Sunday.

The Covid-19 death toll rose by 535 deaths in the last 24 hours, with the total reaching 420,551, health ministry data showed. 

Reuters 

July 25 2021 — 07:00

Anti-lockdown protest turns violent in Sydney

Protesters clashed with police during anti-lockdown protests in Sydney, Australia in defiance of public-health orders amid a growing Covid-19 outbreak

July 25 2021 — 06:45

SA's Covid-19 vaccine rollout catching up with ‘best in the world’

Three months ago, SA’s vaccination drive looked headed for disaster. After a slow start, the rollout has reached about 230,00 people a day, Business for SA chair Martin Kingston told the Sunday Times.

“I tried to reassure people over the past couple of months that there were bound to be teething problems,” Kingston said. 

“But there were a lot of moving pieces that needed to be assembled in a synchronised manner, and my sense is that over the last several weeks we’ve seen it come together very effectively.”

Previously, the target was 250,000 jabs a day, with a request from President Cyril Ramaphosa to reach 300,000. Now, as more private and public sector vaccination sites open and vaccinations are also being done on Saturdays, the number is rising fast. Acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said the government was targeting almost 400,000 daily by late August.

July 25 2021 — 06:30

Teachers refusing Covid-19 jab must produce medical report: department

The department of basic education is forcing teachers who refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19 on medical grounds to produce a detailed medical report indicating that taking the vaccine will “pose a health hazard” to them.

This is despite assurances from the department that it is not mandatory for educators to be vaccinated.

Those teachers who refuse to report for duty when schools reopen tomorrow — regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not, or are incapacitated due to a comorbidity — “shall be subjected to the processes provided for in schedule 1 of the Employment of Educators Act”.

According to a teachers' union, this means teachers can face possible misconduct charges.

These controversial measures are contained in a circular dated July 23 that was signed by basic education director-general Mathanzima Mweli.

July 25 2021 — 06:15

Gauteng Education set to reduce distancing in schools

In a bid to accommodate up to 40 pupils in a classroom in primary schools, the Gauteng education department has told principals not to “strictly enforce” the 1m social distancing requirement.

Gauteng principals were informed of this change during a virtual meeting on school readiness with senior officials of the provincial education department on Thursday.

It comes ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline for all primary schools to end rotational schooling, in which children attend classes on alternate days.

The process, first implemented last year in a bid to enable social distancing in classrooms, has caused most pupils to miss more than 50% of learning.

July 25 2021 — 06:00

Easing of lockdown restrictions on the cards

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to ease some lockdown restrictions and announce economic assistance for businesses hit by the looting when he addresses the nation tonight.

His address, following a meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) today, comes as the Covid-19 third wave shows signs of easing.

The alcohol and hospitality industries are confident the president will lift the booze ban and allow leisure travel across Gauteng borders.

Other lockdown restrictions reimposed four weeks ago include at 9pm-4am curfew and a ban on all social gatherings.

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