COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 5,575 new Covid-19 cases

02 August 2021 - 06:00 By TimesLIVE

August 02 2021 — 20:43

Covid-19 cases on the rise in Western Cape and KZN, as Gauteng cases decline

The trend of increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal continued on Monday.

Figures from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) showed that while new cases were declining in many provinces — most noticeably in Gauteng — the trend was significantly upwards in the two coastal provinces.

August 02 2021 — 16:44

Church drive-through gets Soweto Covid-19 jab rollout into high gear

It took Bethuel Makwe just 10 minutes to get to Grace Bible church in Soweto and get his Covid-19 jab at a drive-though.

“I came here because a drive-through vaccination is safe and quick. I also do not live far from the church,” Makwe said as he waited to get his jab.

He was one of about 20 drivers waiting in their cars to be vaccinated.

August 02  2021 — 12:27

Delta spreads 'like wildfire' as doctors study whether it makes patients sicker

With a new wave of Covid-19 infections fuelled by the Delta variant striking countries worldwide, disease experts are scrambling to learn whether the latest version of coronavirus is making people — mainly the unvaccinated — sicker than before.

August 02  2021 — 12:13

Hong Kong tells civil servants to get vaccinated or pay for Covid-19 tests

 Unvaccinated Hong Kong government employees, as well as education and health workers will soon have to pay for regular Covid-19 tests, city leader Carrie Lam said on Monday, announcing measures to persuade more people to get vaccinated.

Hong Kong has registered 56 days without any local coronavirus cases and life has largely returned to normal in the global financial hub, except heavy travel restrictions remain in place, with hotel quarantine required for all arrivals.

Authorities were unsatisfied with a slow initial take-up of vaccines, though the numbers have improved in recent months after various businesses announced a range of perks for those who take vaccines, including a lottery prize of an apartment worth about $1 million.

“If it's purely a personal option not to get vaccinated and help society achieve herd immunity, that's not something a responsible government should allow or tolerate,” Lam told reporters.

Lam also said that vaccinated people arriving in Hong Kong from countries deemed as medium-risk who present a negative Covid-19 test and positive antibody test could spend 7 days instead of 14 days in mandatory hotel quarantine. They would have to “self-monitor” in the second week.

Those who are not vaccinated, however, have to spend an extra seven days in the hotel, Lam said.

The government is also mulling extending the availability of free vaccination centres by one month until the end of October, she said.

About a third of the population has received the recommended two doses and less than half have had at least one dose.

By comparison, rival finance hub Singapore is looking to allow quarantine-free travel from September, when 80% of its population is expected to be inoculated. 


August 02  2021 — 11:15

School sports and travel for tournaments get green light to resume

Schools have been given the green light to resume contact and non-contact sports, including training and interschool matches, as well as arts and culture activities, but without spectators.

August 02  2021 — 10:00

Russia reports 23,508 new Covid-19 cases, 785 deaths

Russia on Monday reported 23,508 new Covid-19 cases, including 3,330 in Moscow, taking the total number of cases to 6,312,185 since the pandemic began.

The government coronavirus also confirmed 785 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours.


August 02  2021 — 09:47

UAE rolls out Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine to children aged 3-17

The United Arab Emirates will start providing China's Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine to children aged 3-17, the UAE government said on Twitter on Monday.

It cited the health ministry as saying the decision comes after clinical trials and extensive evaluations, without providing any details.

Authorities said in June the trial would monitor the immune response of 900 children.

The Gulf Arab state, which has among the world's highest immunisation rates, was already providing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12-15.

The health ministry said on Sunday that 78.95% of the UAE population of roughly 9 million had received one vaccine dose while 70.57% had been fully vaccinated.

The UAE, the region's tourism and trade hub, registered 1,519 new coronavirus infections on Sunday to take its total to 682,377 cases and 1,951 deaths. It does not provide a breakdown for each of its seven emirates.

It led Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine produced by China's state-owned drugmaker Sinopharm and has started manufacturing it under a joint venture between Sinopharm and Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42.


August 02  2021 — 09:30

US Republican report says coronavirus leaked from Chinese lab; scientists still probing origins

A preponderance of evidence proves the virus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic leaked from a Chinese research facility, said a report by US Republicans released on Monday, a conclusion that US intelligence agencies have not reached. 

The report also cited “ample evidence” that Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) scientists — aided by US experts and Chinese and US government funds — were working to modify coronaviruses to infect humans and such manipulation could be hidden.

August 02  2021 — 09:05

7.5-million vaccines administered in SA as hesitancy declines, pace picks up

Getting the Covid-19 vaccination is a patriotic duty to safeguard the health of the nation, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday when he announced SA has passed the 7.5-million mark for the number of administered jabs. 

About three-million people are fully vaccinated.

“At the present rate, we are vaccinating on average 220,000 people a day. In the coming weeks, this rate will increase significantly due to the arrival of more vaccine doses,” he said in his weekly newsletter.

Nearly 1.5-million single dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines have been handed to the health department in the past few days.

August 02  2021 — 08:55

Getting your Covid-19 vaccine is a duty not a right, says Gauteng-based doctor

The drop in new Covid-19 infections in the community in the past week is like the loosening of a noose around the necks of my colleagues and myself, and though we’re still diagnosing new cases daily, fear of a further exponential increase has abated.

As we start to sigh the first breaths of relief, our imaginations have started to venture into the prospect of a fourth wave which, as professionals, perhaps we wouldn’t mentally survive.

During this week, when my mind has wandered into these overwhelming thoughts, I’m instantly reassured that we now have a vaccine for Covid-19. It’s our golden armour in this disastrous pandemic, and the single most effective tool we have to get our lives back to normal.

August 02  2021 — 08:45

Australia cranks up Covid-19 curbs with Brisbane lockdown extended, army patrols in Sydney

Australia's Queensland state on Monday extended a Covid-19 lockdown in Brisbane, while soldiers began patrolling Sydney to enforce stay-at-home rules as Australia struggles to stop the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus spreading. 

Queensland said it had detected 13 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours — the biggest one-day rise the state has recorded in a year. The lockdown of Brisbane, Australia's third-biggest city, was due to end on Tuesday but will now stay in place until late on Sunday.

“It's starting to become clear that the initial lockdown will be insufficient for the outbreak,” Queensland state Deputy Premier Steven Miles told reporters in Brisbane.

August 02  2021 — 08:30

US will not lock down despite surge driven by Delta variant, Fauci says

The US will not lock down again to curb Covid-19 but “things are going to get worse” as the Delta variant fuels a surge in cases, mostly among the unvaccinated, top US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday. 

A sufficient percentage of Americans have now been vaccinated to avoid lockdowns, Fauci said on ABC's “This Week”.

“Not enough to crush the outbreak, but I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter,” he said.

The average number of new coronavirus cases reported nationwide has nearly doubled in the past 10 days, according to a Reuters analysis

August 02  2021 — 06:45

Pfizer and Moderna raise prices for Covid-19 vaccines in EU- FT

Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc have raised the prices of their Covid-19 vaccines in their latest European Union supply contracts, the Financial Times reported  on Sunday.

The new price for the Pfizer shot was 19.50 euros ($23.15) against 15.50 euros previously, the newspaper said, citing portions of the contracts seen.

The price of a Moderna vaccine was $25.50 a dose, the contracts show, up from about 19 euros in the first procurement deal but lower than the previously agreed $28.50 because the order had grown, the report said, citing one official close to the matter.

Pfizer declined to comment on the contract with the European Commission, citing confidentiality. “Beyond the redacted contract(s) published by the commission, the content remains confidential and so we won't be commenting,” the company said.

Moderna was not immediately available for comment to Reuters.

The European Commission said on Tuesday that the EU is on course to hit a target of fully vaccinating at least 70% of the adult population by the end of the summer.

In May, the EU said it expects to have received more than a billion doses of vaccines by the end of September from four drugmakers.


August 02  2021 — 06:30

Indian woman recovers after 100 days with Covid-19

Archana Devi returned to her family home in Meerut in northern India after battling Covid-19 for 100 days

August 02  2021 — 06:15

Government needs to build an equitable health system that is not just a reaction to a threat or crisis, say experts

The Covid-19 pandemic not only disrupted the drive for National Health Insurance, but highlighted the yawning gap between the public and private healthcare sectors it is meant to address.

But recent shifts in the vaccine rollout and treatments have provided a glimmer of hope, and experts say these shifts could help build more equitable systems that outlive the pandemic.

Prof Wolfgang Preiser, a virologist at the University of Stellenbosch, said the pandemic had hardly been the “great equaliser” some dubbed it early on.

August 02  2021 — 06:10

Dr. Anthony Fauci says he expects no new US lockdowns

The US will not lock down again to curb Covid-19, but ‘things are going to get worse’ as the Delta variant fuels a surge in cases, mostly among the unvaccinated, top US infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

August 02  2021 — 06:00

Teachers advised to give pupils 'mask break' every two hours

As primary school pupils resume classes on a full-time basis on Monday, teachers have been advised to give pupils a mask break every two hours “to ensure they do not get carbon dioxide retention”. 

This is the advice that the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) has given to the department of basic education.

According to the advisory by the MAC, all primary schools should open at full capacity and practise “maximum feasible physical distancing between pupils.

“Ideally, all children should be at least one metre apart within classrooms, but where this is not possible full capacity schooling should still be commenced,” teacher unions, school governing body associations and a principals’ association were told during different meetings with the department on Saturday.