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COVID-19 WRAP | SA passes 9-million Covid-19 vaccine mark, but more than 500 virus deaths recorded in 24 hours

11 August 2021 - 06:10 By TimesLIVE
Medical professionals discuss care for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients at the Ochsner Medical Center in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, US, August 10, 2021.
Medical professionals discuss care for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients at the Ochsner Medical Center in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, US, August 10, 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn

August 11 2021 - 19:40

SA passes 9-million Covid-19 vaccine mark, but more than 500 virus deaths recorded in 24 hours

SA administered its nine-millionth Covid-19 vaccination on Wednesday, making a positive milestone in the country's battle to stem the coronavirus.

But while this was an important victory, the number of new Covid-19 related deaths recorded in the past 24 hours — 573, according to the health department and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases — is a reminder that the fight is far from over.

The NICD said on Wednesday said that there were 7,502 new Covid-19 cases identified in SA in the past 24 hours, meaning that there had now been 2,554,240 total cases recorded to date. The new cases came at a positivity rate — the number of positive outcomes against the number of tests taken in the same period — of 18.9%.

August 11 2021 - 17:00

North West health officials suspended after black patients 'denied' Covid-19 vaccines

The North West health department has suspended three officials in Delareyville for allegedly denying black community members Covid-19 vaccines and reserving them for friends and family instead.

The white officials were suspended after a tip-off from staff and complaints from the community that had racial connotations.

The department said in a statement that the suspension follows allegations that the officials denied access to vaccinations for some members of the community.

August 11 2021 — 13:00

Post-vaccine group chat: Did you experience side-effects after the Covid-19 jab?

More than eight million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been given across SA since February, and those who feel a little worse for wear after getting their jab have turned to social media to find out if they are alone. 

As of Tuesday evening the country had administered more than 8.8-million vaccines, with 176,752 given in the past 24 hours.​

One social media user was gatvol of people sharing “horror stories” about the side-effects of the vaccine and started a trend to clear the air.

August 11 2021 — 12:48

OPINION | Why Covid-19 vaccines should be mandatory in SA

In recent months, the question of mandatory Covid-19 vaccination, or limitations on those who choose not to be vaccinated, has become a hot topic.

In many countries, healthcare professionals and care home workers in facilities for the aged or disabled must be vaccinated as an occupational requirement. They are duty bound to accept a vaccine because of their non-negotiable pledge to avoid harm to patients, colleagues and their own families.

Other occupational groups who work in proximity to the public or in large indoor venues also have a responsibility to adhere to a mandatory vaccine policy. Likewise, barring medical contraindications, civil society has a reciprocal duty to accept vaccinations to protect healthcare and other essential workers.

August 11 2021 — 11:40

A container port in eastern China suspends operation on a Covid-19 case

A container port in China's eastern marine hub Ningbo has suspended operation after a staff was tested positive for Covid-19 on August 10, said a port official at a press briefing on Wednesday.

Ningbo Meidong Container Terminal Corp, a subsidiary of Ningbo Zhoushan Port Company Ltd , has also suspended all inbound and lift-off services from 03:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday.

Twenty-eight container vessels are queuing outside Ningbo Zhoushan port on Wednesday, down from 53 vessels on July 29, data tracked by Refinitiv showed.


August 11 2021 — 11:00

Macron says Covid-19 epidemic is serious in overseas territories 

President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that France's overseas territories, in particular the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, were being hit hard by the Covid-19 epidemic.

"The situation is dramatic," Macron said as he opened a virtual meeting with his senior cabinet ministers to discuss the epidemic.


August 11 2021 — 10:30

Indonesian village turns unwanted trash into Covid-19 helper

A homemade robot designed by Indonesian villagers and scientists for fun has found a new use during the pandemic — bringing food, and hopefully a smile, to self-isolating residents who have contracted Covid-19.

An eclectic assembly of household items like pots, pans and an old television monitor, it is now named the “Delta robot” in a nod to the highly contagious variant of the coronavirus that has ripped through Indonesia.

“With this new Delta variant and the surging number of Covid-19 cases, I decided to turn the robot into one used for public services such as to spray disinfectant, deliver food and meet the needs of residents who are self-isolating,” Aseyanto, 53, a neighbourhood leader who heads the project, said.

The robot's head is made from a rice cooker, and it is operated by remote control with a 12-hour battery life. It is one of several robots made in the village of Tembok Gede, which has won a reputation for its creative use of technology.

After trundling down the street to the home of an isolating resident, its speaker emits the message “assalamu’alaikum” (Peace be with you), followed by “A delivery is here. Get well soon.”

The village lies within Surabaya, capital of East Java province and Indonesia's second-biggest city, where a devastating second wave of coronavirus infections has swept in over in the past month.

Indonesia has become the epicentre of Asia's Covid-19 outbreak and recorded more than 3.68 million infections and more than 108,000 deaths from the virus among a population in excess of 270 million spread across the vast archipelago.

“This Delta robot is very simple... When we created this, we purely used materials in our neighbourhood,” said Aseyanto, who goes by one name.

It is a far cry from the robots deployed in hospitality and for care in Japan and elsewhere, some of which have been adapted to help tackle the pandemic.

“For the base, we used a used toy car chassis,” said another team member, engineering lecturer Benazir Imam Arif Muttaqin. 


August 11 2021 — 09:15

China administered total 1.81 bn Covid-19 vaccine doses as of August 10

China administered about 13 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines on August 10, bringing the total number of doses administered to 1.808 billion, data from the National Health Commission showed on Wednesday.


August 11 2021 — 09:00

Russia's Sputnik V shot around 83% effective against Delta variant, health minister says

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19 is around 83% effective against the Delta variant of coronavirus, lower than previously thought, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Wednesday.

Authorities blamed a surge in coronavirus cases in June and July on the more contagious Delta variant and the population's reluctance to get vaccinated despite shots being widely available.

The vaccine's developers in June said Sputnik V was around 90% effective against the Delta variant.

"The latest results show that effectiveness is around 83%," the TASS news agency cited Murashko as saying.

Alexander Gintsburg, director of the Gamaleya Institute which developed the vaccine, said on Wednesday in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper that Sputnik V was safe and effective against all strains of the coronavirus.

Russia, which has a population of around 144 million, has approved four domestically produced vaccines. It has recorded almost 6.5 million infections since the start of the pandemic.


August 11 2021 — 07:30

Hospitals fill up as Delta surges across US

Hospitals in the United States are filling up rapidly as the Delta variant sends Covid-19 cases surging to a six-month high, with the US averaging 100,000 cases for three days in a row

August 11 2021 — 07:10

Hawaii to reimpose Covid-19 restrictions as Delta variant surges

Hawaii will re-impose Covid-19 restrictions limiting social gatherings to avert straining the state's healthcare, Governor David Ige said on Tuesday, as the rapid spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus pushed cases and hospitalizations in the United States to a six-month high.

"I'll be signing an executive order that will limit social gatherings, effective immediately," Ige said in a tweet.

In June, social gatherings were increased to 25 indoors and 75 outdoors statewide but now it will be capped to no more than 10 indoors and 25 outdoor.

Hawaii, with more than 60% of population fully vaccinated, has witnessed a rise in cases by 168% between July 26 and August 8, according to the state's department of health.

The latest guidelines will reduce the indoor capacity for bars, gyms, restaurants, and social establishments to 50%, Ige added."

Counties will review proposals for all professionally sponsored events (bigger than 50 people) and ensure appropriate safe practices will be implemented," the governor said.


August 11 2021 — 07:00

Does warm weather kill Covid-19?

Although Covid-19 does not survive well in warmer climates, hot summer temperatures have no effect on it. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states you can contract Covid-19 no matter how sunny or hot the weather.

“Exposing yourself to the sun or temperatures higher than 25°C does not prevent nor cure Covid-19,” warned the WHO.

“To protect yourself, make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.”

August 11 2021 — 06:30

Melbourne Covid-19 lockdown extended for week after 20 new cases reported

Australia's second-biggest city Melbourne will stay locked down for a second week after reporting 20 new Covid-19 cases as it struggles to stamp out infections caused by the highly infectious Delta variant of the pandemic.

Melbourne had been due to exit the lockdown on Thursday, the sixth for its five million people in stop-start battles against the coronavirus also seen elsewhere across the country have triggered frustration and discord.

But Victoria state Premier Dan Andrews confirmed strict stay-at-home orders will remain in place until at least Aug. 19 after authorities were unable to trace how several of the 20 people confirmed as new cases on Wednesday contracted Covid-19.“If we were to open, then we would see cases akin to what is happening, tragically, in Sydney right now,” Andrews told reporters in Melbourne, referring to an outbreak in Australia's most populous city that has spread to thousands despite Sydney being in week seven of its own lockdown.

“We have seen a surge in the number of cases and (that is) expected to continue,” New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney, reporting another 344 new infections in the past 24 hours, close to the city's single-day record.

Berejiklian said the Sydney lockdown, which has grown to include several areas north of the city, will also be expanded to include Dubbo, a small city about 400 kilometres (248 miles) northwest of Sydney.

Sydney is scheduled to remain in lockdown until the end of August. Most expect the restrictions to be extended, despite a recent surge in people seeking vaccinations.

Australia has so far fared much better than many other countries in the developed world during the pandemic, with just under 37,000 Covid-19 cases. The death toll rose to 944 on Wednesday after two people, including a man in his 30s, died in Sydney.


August 11 2021 — 06:15

India reports 38,353 new Covid-19 infections

India reported on Wednesday 38,353 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the government said in a statement.

The south Asian nation's tally of infections crossed 32 million, the second-highest worldwide after the US.


August 11 2021 — 06:10

School boards defy governors' bans on mask mandates

School districts in Florida and Texas are bucking their Republican governors' bans on requiring masks for children and teachers as coronavirus cases soar in areas with low vaccination rates.

August 11 2021 — 06:00

Unvaccinated create perfect conditions for new variants, say medical experts

Scientists didn’t anticipate the rate at which Covid-19 would mutate as we work our way through the Greek alphabet