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COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 2,783 new Covid-19 cases

23 September 2021 - 06:49 By TIMESLIVE
A security guard checks for proof of vaccination at the entrance to a food court during phase one of Ontario's vaccine certification program in Toronto, Ontario, Canada September 22, 2021.
A security guard checks for proof of vaccination at the entrance to a food court during phase one of Ontario's vaccine certification program in Toronto, Ontario, Canada September 22, 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

September 23 2021 - 21:54

Shot in the arm for SA as Patrick Soon-Shiong announces Covid-19 and cancer vaccines initiative

South African-American business tycoon Patrick Soon-Shiong has announced the launch of an SA Covid-19 and cancer vaccine initiative.

Soon-Shiong and President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed the ambitious initiative during a virtual press briefing on Thursday. It is a partnership between NantWorks LCC, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC), Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI), and the universities of Cape Town, Witwatersrand, Stellenbosch and KwaZulu-Natal. 

September 23 2021 - 21:28

SA records 2,783 new Covid-19 cases

September 23 2021 - 19:37

Africa's fight against Covid-19 in a 'critical' phase

The next three months will shape how the Covid-19 pandemic plays out in Africa, whose fight against the virus has been crippled by its lack of access to life-saving vaccines and global solidarity, top public health officials said on Thursday.

The UK’s ongoing red-listing of certain African countries, including SA, and refusal to accept recognised AstraZeneca vaccinations from others, like Kenya, is the latest example of this. Africa CDC director Dr John Nkengasong slammed the decision at his weekly update on coronavirus, warning that it sends confusing messages to the continent and stirs up vaccine hesitancy.

September 23 2021 - 18:27

Senior Gauteng officials charged over school decontamination misspending

The Gauteng department of education (GDE) has charged three senior managers over the use of funds for the decontamination and cleaning of schools in the province.

The charges were served as part of a process to implement recommendations received from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

The senior officials were identified by the department in a statement as the head of supply chain, the chief director for infrastructure development and the acting director for auxiliary services.

September 23 2021 - 11:36

Melbourne anti-lockdown protests fizzle out as daily cases hit pandemic high

Melbourne's streets were largely quiet on Thursday after three days of anti-lockdown protests, with hundreds of police officers on patrol in the city to prevent another rally as Covid-19 cases in Victoria hit a daily pandemic record. 

Police in central Melbourne were checking people's reasons for being outside, footage on social media showed, after a violent protest on Wednesday in Australia's second-largest city resulted in more than 200 arrests.

A vaccination centre at the Melbourne Town Hall would be shut until Monday after several of its staff were physically and verbally abused on their way to work, operator cohealth said on Thursday.

September 23 2021 - 10:20

More than 48,000 commented on this campaign about mandatory Covid-19 vaccines, here's what they said

More than 48,000 South Africans have weighed in on the issue of vaccinations in the workplace, in schools and vaccine passports in an online platform launched by a civil organisation, Dear SA. 

The platform invited citizens to give reasons for either supporting or rejecting the vaccine.

The organisation responded to a directive issued by the department of employment and labour in June, which says companies can, on the grounds of providing a safe workplace, mandate employees to get vaccinated. 

The directive is clear in its emphasis on a non-violation of rights of employees who may refuse to get vaccinated on medical, religious and constitutional grounds. 

September 23 2021 - 08:05

SA's digital health crashes during Covid-19 pandemic: study

SA’s global digital wellbeing has declined nine places over the past year and is now ranked at 68th out of 110 countries.

However, it is still top when it comes to African states, according to the third annual edition of the Digital Quality of Life (DQL) index.

The research has revealed SA’s mediocre results in e-security, ranking 85th in the world and lagging behind Algeria, Kenya and Nigeria on the continent. E-infrastructure in SA was also about 20% worse than the global average, and the country ranked 87th globally.

Covering 90% of the global population, the DQL study is conducted by the cybersecurity company Surfshark and evaluates countries based on a set of five fundamental digital wellbeing pillars. SA shows better results than the global average in internet affordability, in 26th position.

September 23 2021 - 07:05

My colleague tested positive for Covid-19, what should I do?

Covid-19 has changed the way we work and socialise, so what do you do if a colleague tests positive for the virus. 

While social distancing and wearing of masks will go some way in reducing the spread of the virus, it is possible to catch Covid-19 from someone you work with.

It is for this reason that the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) advises that you self-quarantine if you are exposed to someone who has Covid-19.

“If you work closely in the same environment as a person with Covid-19, you will need to self-quarantine for 10 days because you have had high-risk exposure.

“High-risk exposure means you have had direct, close contact for more than 15 minutes with someone who tested positive for Covid-19, and you did not wear protective cloth face masks, or you had physical contact or took other risks that could have exposed you to the Covid-19 virus.”

September 23 2021 - 07:00

Under pressure, US donates half billion more Covid-19 vaccine doses to world

The United States on Wednesday promised to buy 500 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses to donate to other countries as it comes under increasing pressure to share its supply with the rest of the world.

September 23 2021 - 06:45

Germany to end quarantine pay for unvaccinated

Germany will stop paying compensation to unvaccinated workers who are forced into quarantine, according to Health Minister Jens Spahn.

September 23 2021 - 06:30

New Zealand's Ardern says lockdowns can end with high vaccine uptake

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday the country should aim for a 90%-plus rate of inoculation, and could drop strict coronavirus lockdown measures once enough people were vaccinated.

New Zealand eliminated Covid-19 last year and remained largely virus-free until an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant in August led to a nationwide lockdown.

With its biggest city Auckland still in lockdown and new cases being reported every day, Ardern said vaccinations will replace lockdowns as the main tool against the virus, allowing authorities to isolate only those who are infected.

"If that rate (of vaccinations) is high enough then we will be able to move away from lockdowns as a tool," she said.

The highest possible vaccine rates will give the most freedoms, Ardern said, adding that the country should be aiming for a 90% plus rate of vaccination.

After a sluggish start to its vaccination campaign, some 40% of adult New Zealanders are fully vaccinated and about 75% have had at least one dose.

Authorities reported 15 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, all in Auckland, taking the total number of cases in the current outbreak to 1,123.

The Director General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield warned earlier this week that New Zealand may not get to zero Covidcases again.


September 23 2021 - 06:15

Covid-19 becomes deadliest pandemic in US history

The US passed a grim milestone in the Covid-19 pandemic with over 676,000 deaths, surpassing the nation's death count from the influenza outbreak of over 100 years ago, making the current pandemic the deadliest in American history.

September 23 2021 - 06:05

Japan doubles Covid-19 vaccine donation pledge to 60m doses

Japan will double its Covid-19 vaccine donations to about 60 million doses intended for needy countries, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said at a virtual summit on Thursday.

The pledge adds to a previous agreement to provide 30 million doses and $1 billion to COVAX programme, overseen by the GAVI alliance and the World Health Organization."

Japan has provided approximately 23 million doses of Covid vaccine to various countries and regions across the world, which is the third largest provision of vaccine in the world so far," Suga told the conference.

Much of Japan's vaccine donations thus far have been via bilateral agreements with Asian neighbours, outside of the COVAX program.

Japan is giving away most of its domestically produced supply of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca Plc.

The nation has relied mainly on imported mRNA-type vaccines from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc for its inoculation push, which has fully vaccinated about 55% of its population.


September 23 2021 - 06:00

Families consider more loans as they 'struggle to bounce back'

Most South Africans have a growing appetite for credit as their prospects decline in the pandemic- with only 3% of surveyed households saying their finances have fully recovered.

This is according to a survey by TransUnion, a consumer credit reporting agency.

It found that eight out of 10 households consider access to credit important, but only 33% believe that they have sufficient access to credit.

“Almost a third plan to apply for new credit or refinance existing credit within the next year, with new personal loan (43%) and new credit card (35%) applications being on top of the list.