COVID-19 WRAP | SA records more than 16,000 new Covid-19 cases

03 December 2021 - 05:30 By TimesLIVE
A police officer checks if people wear masks a main shopping district as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues in Cologne, Germany, on December 1 2021.
A police officer checks if people wear masks a main shopping district as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues in Cologne, Germany, on December 1 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen

December 03 2021 - 18:55

More than 16,000 new Covid-19 cases across SA as country hits grim 3-million infection mark

With more than 16,000 new Covid-19 cases reported in the past 24 hours, SA passed another grim pandemic milestone as more than 3-million infections have now been confirmed countrywide.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said on Friday that there were 16,055 new cases recorded in the past day, taking the total number of confirmed infections to 3,004,203 since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March last year.

December 03 2021 - 16:04

Travel ban cancellations — a world of hurt for everyone

Stranded in foreign airports when their flights home were suddenly cancelled, scores of South Africans were forced to buy expensive tickets on other airlines — only to discover that their travel insurance policies don’t cover such a situation.

Melvi Todd of Cape Town flew to France via Dubai with her husband on Emirates on November 20, and they were due to return home on Sunday, November 28.

Two days earlier, they received the usual “please check in” e-mail from the airline. “This was after European countries started banning SA, so our perception was that Emirates was still flying,” she says.

December 03 2021 - 12:25

WATCH | Understanding the variant pushing up SA’s Covid-19 numbers

Covid-19 cases have started to increase in almost all provinces, health minister Joe Phaahla confirmed in the latest coronavirus update.

Indications are the new variant Omicron has fuelled the 300% increase in cases compared to last week.

On Thursday the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) released the latest Covid-19 figures, reporting 11,535 new cases in 24 hours.

December 03 2021 - 10:37

KZN's Sibaya Casino pulls plug on live shows as a precaution against Covid-19

The government will meet in the coming week to decide whether more stringent restrictions are needed following a surge in Covid-19 cases after the onset of the new Omicron variant, says health minister Joe Phaahla. 

“We will look at, among other things, the rapid rise in infection and what pressure our health facilities are under,” he said on Friday.

“Serious curbs can be avoided if people wear masks and avoid large gatherings and more people get vaccinated.”

December 03 2021 - 09:47

Steepest Covid rise to date as Omicron spreads in all provinces, says minister

The wave of Covid-19 fueled by Omicron is seeing mainly mild cases in those vaccinated, but shows “a very steep rise - steeper than the rise and curve from previous waves”, health minister Joe Phaala told a media briefing on Friday.

In just a week, daily cases have risen by around 9,000, breaching the 11,000 mark on Thursday. Just under 3,000 people have been hospitalised.

“We hope that the mild nature of the illness will continue to be the dominant feature. We are doing everything possible to make sure we can handle serious illness, but one change threatening to destabilise us is that health workers, even though they are vaccinated, are having mild symptoms from breakthrough infections and are having to isolate.”

December 03 2021 - 09:10

Will there likely be more Covid-19 variants in the future?

As the Covid-19 Omicron variant caused panic last week when SA scientists and health experts announced it had been detected in parts of the country, many people wondered whether more variants could be on the horizon.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has warned that more variants could develop.

“We expect new variants to continue to emerge wherever the virus is spreading. Vaccination remains critical to protect those in our communities at high risk of hospitalisation and death, to reduce strain on the health system and to help slow transmission.”

December 03 2021 - 08:55

Hospital association welcomes possible mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations consultation

The Hospital Association of SA (Hasa) has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that a task force has been put in place to consider the possibility of making Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for specific activities and public places.

In a national address on Sunday, Ramaphosa said discussions were under way between government and various stakeholders to introduce mandatory vaccinations that would allow vaccinated people access to workplaces, public events, public transport and public establishments.

“We realise that the introduction of such measures is a difficult and complex issue, but if we do not address this seriously and as a matter of urgency we will continue to be vulnerable to new variants and will continue to suffer new waves of infection,” said Ramaphosa.

December 03 2021 - 08:52

'Let's avoid risky behaviour', Makhura urges Gauteng as cases rise

As Covid-19 infections in Gauteng rise at a rate “never seen before”, premier David Makhura has urged residents to avoid large gatherings.

Makhura was addressing media on Thursday, following a briefing by the provincial health department.

He expressed concern that at least eight million adults in Gauteng are not vaccinated, suggesting that infections could see a rapid increase if people don't avoid large gatherings.

December 03 2021 - 08:29

Virus-battered SA 'readies mandatory vaccine policy'

SA, which is contending with a massive upsurge in Covid-19 infections following the onset of the Omicron variant, is readying a mandatory vaccine policy and is set to implement it early next year, a senior labour union official said. 

Broad agreement has been reached on the policy in the National Economic Development and Labor Council (Nedlac), although some details have yet to be ironed out.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu), which initially opposed forcing people to get vaccinated, has joined business groups in backing the move.

December 03 2021 - 05:35

Gauteng residents encouraged to get vaccinated in order to avoid lockdown