COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 517 new Covid-19 cases

22 October 2021 - 07:00 By TimesLIVE
A man and dog costumed as nurses who give vaccines for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) are pictured at a Halloween costume contest for dogs, in Lima, Peru October 21, 2021.
A man and dog costumed as nurses who give vaccines for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) are pictured at a Halloween costume contest for dogs, in Lima, Peru October 21, 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda

October 22 2021 — 19:34

Covid-19: SA records 517 new cases, 56 deaths in 24 hours

It was another day of low Covid-19 infections, with 517 cases recorded in the past 24 hours.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases said on Friday the new cases mean there have now been 2,918,883 laboratory-confirmed infections recorded across SA to date.

Of the new cases, the most were in KwaZulu-Natal (124), followed by the Western Cape (90) and the Free State (86).

October 22 2021 — 13:50

Americans can mix and match Covid-19 boosters but original vaccine recommended - Fauci

Americans can choose a Covid-19 booster shot that is different from their original inoculation but the recommendation is to stick with the vaccine they got first if it is available, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Friday.

"It's generally recommended that you get the booster that is the original regimen that you got in the first place," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with CNN.

"But for one reason or other - and there may be different circumstances with people, availability or just different personal choices - you can, as we say, mix and match," Fauci said in an interview with CNN.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday recommended the Covid-19 vaccine boosters for recipients of the Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson shots, and said Americans can choose a different shot from their original inoculation as a booster.

Fauci's comments contrasted with the recommendations from the CDC and Food and Drug Administration this week, which said that Americans should get boosters but did not specify which combinations would be best.

The recommendations also opened the door for recipients of the one-shot J&J vaccine to get a dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines that have been shown to afford greater protection in a variety of studies.

"You can now mix and match one with the other, but in general it just makes sense to go with what your original regimen was," Fauci said.

Although these vaccines have been highly effective in preventing serious illness and death, some government scientists have suggested that boosters are needed to keep immunity high, especially as the extremely contagious Delta variant can cause breakthrough infections among some who are fully vaccinated. 

Reuters

October 22 2021 — 13:46

Sri Lanka orders Covid-19 booster shots for frontline workers, tourism industry

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday ordered frontline workers and tourism staff to be given a third booster shot of Covid-19 vaccine next month, part of a bid to reopen the travel industry and revive the economy.

More than 1 million people including security personnel, health care staff and tourism industry workers will be given third shots of the Pfizer vaccine beginning Nov. 1, the president's office said in a statement.

So far Sri Lanka has fully vaccinated a little over 60% of its 22 million people. The country depends on international tourism, and partially rolled back Covid-19 restrictions late last month, allowing fully vaccinated travellers with a negative test to enter without quarantine.

Earnings from tourism plummeted from $4.3 billion in 2018 to just $33 million in the first eight months of this year. Reviving the industry is seen as crucial to restoring reserves which stood at just $2.6 billion at the end of September.

Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said there was strong interest from travellers from countries such as Russia, Britain, France and Germany, and that international flights will be increased from next month.

"The target is to have a strong winter season from November to March or April of next year,” he told Reuters.

An estimated 400,000 people are employed in the tourism industry. Some travel limits, including on trains between provinces, will be lifted only from Nov. 1 as the authorities focus on reducing the death rate from Covid-19 to zero. 

Reuters

October 22 2021 — 12:00

Melbourne bursts to life on Freedom Friday 

Victorians are celebrating Freedom Friday as Melbourne exits the world's longest lockdown and patrons rush to pubs, cafes and beauty salons.  

October 22 2021 — 11:36

German Covid-19 cases jump as state leaders discuss response

A key measure of coronavirus infections in Germany rose sharply over the past week, figures showed on Friday, raising the prospect of tougher restrictions as winter approaches.

The seven-day incidence rate of cases — which has been used to decide Covid-19 curbs — jumped more than 26 points in a week, the Robert Koch Institute responsible for disease control said.

The rise comes as the leaders of Germany's 16 states are discussing pandemic plans.

A nationwide state of emergency is set to lapse on Nov. 25, meaning restrictions will automatically expire then unless extended by parliamentary vote.

The number of new infections per 100,000 people over seven days stood at 95.1 compared with 68.7 reported a week ago, the institute said.

A total of 19,572 new infections were reported on Friday, 8,054 more than the same time last Friday, it added.

More than 1,500 Covid-19 patients are in intensive care, up from about 1,400 a week ago, figures from the DIVI association for intensive and emergency medicine showed on Thursday.”

The fourth wave has started now and is still gaining speed,” Christian Karagiannidis, the scientific head of DIVI, said on Twitter on Thursday.

Germany's state premiers are unlikely to lift rules requiring social distancing, mask-wearing and proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test result to enter most indoor public spaces.

The prospect of another lockdown is highly unpopular. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn promised in August that anyone who was vaccinated would not be subjected to such measures come autumn.

Around 66% of German residents are fully vaccinated, compared with 63.3% of people across the European Union. Only about 1.5 million Germans have received a booster shot of Covid-19 vaccine, compared with around 55 million who have had two shots.

Reuters

October 22 2021 — 11:30

Here’s how many children have received the Pfizer jab so far

The Covid-19 vaccination rollout for children under 18 is gaining momentum since it launched on Wednesday. 

More than 13,000 children have received a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine and 6,900 had registered to get vaccinated via the electronic vaccination data system (EVDS) system on Thursday, health department spokesperson Foster Mohale told TimesLIVE on Friday morning. 

On the first day of the vaccinations, the department recorded 6,843 children aged between 12 and 17 who were vaccinated. 

Health minister Joe Phaahla told the media last Friday the decision to vaccinate adolescents was taken after deliberations between the vaccine ministerial advisory committee (VMAC) supported by health MECs and cabinet.

October 22 2021 — 10:11

Covid-19 restrictions have left women and children worn out — study

Lack of job security, lower salaries and being more hands-on when caring for the sick in their homes during the Covid-19 pandemic may have put women in a more vulnerable position for mental health disorders, a new study suggests. 

According to research by a team of international researchers in 204 countries, the pandemic has led to an increase in depressive and anxiety disorders, particularly in women and children.

October 22 2021 — 09:37

UCT on mandatory vaccinations: 'No-one can expect that there will be unanimity on matters such as these'

The University of Cape Town (UCT) says it did not expect a unanimous response in support of the recently approved mandatory vaccination policy, said the chairperson of its council Babalwa Ngonyama.

October 22 2021 — 09:06

'We are not over this pandemic' — what Prof Salim Abdool Karim says about fourth wave

Prof Salim Abdool Karim says SA “is not over the Covid-19 pandemic”, despite Covid-19 fatigue setting in.  

Speaking on Algoa FM this week, Abdool Karim warned the pandemic is “not done with us” and predicted a new wave of infections was approaching.

“As much as we are fed up, tired and want to be done with it, I have to say that I don't think the virus is done. This virus is still spreading and we have to be ready to deal with it.”

October 22 2021 — 07:30

Putin approves Russian workplace shutdown

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday approved a government proposal for a weeklong workplace shutdown at the start of November to combat a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

October 22 2021 — 07:00

If children are rarely at risk of severe Covid-19 infection, why vaccinate them?

Confusion and mixed emotions are at the centre of conversations about the vaccine rollout for children between 12 and 17 years old. 

On Wednesday, the health department began giving adolescents the jab, with a goal of vaccinating at least 6-million people from this age group.

It is hoped the rollout will boost the country's vaccination rate, which is behind the target of 300,000 daily shots set in July. SA is now administering about 200,000 doses per day.

October 22 2021 — 06:30

India celebrates 1 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses

India celebrated the milestone of administering 1 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses with the government promoting the achievement with song

October 22 2021 — 06:00

Pfizer, BioNTech say Covid-19 booster highly effective

Pfizer and BioNTech said a booster shot of their Covid-19 vaccine restored efficacy to 95.6% against the virus, including the Delta variant, according to data from a Phase III trial.

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