COVID-19 WRAP | SA records nearly 14,000 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours

13 December 2021 - 05:30 By TimesLIVE
A sign displays Covid-19 safety information outside the international departures terminal of Sydney Airport in Australia on December 10 2021.
A sign displays Covid-19 safety information outside the international departures terminal of Sydney Airport in Australia on December 10 2021.
Image: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

December 13 2021 - 19:45

Immunisation expert endures lone grilling at government briefing on vaccine hesitancy

A widely respected immunisation expert endured a lone two-hour grilling from members of the public during an online briefing aimed at dispelling vaccine myths, after connection problems kept her fellow panellist and virology expert out in the cold.

The briefing, which was hosted by the Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) in an effort to dispel misinformation around Covid-19 vaccines, was supposed to allow the public and media to pose questions to experts Prof Hannelie Meyer, National Immunisation Safety Expert Committee chairperson, and Prof Rose Burnett from the virology department at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University.

December 13 2021 - 19:24

SA records nearly 14,000 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours

There were nearly 14,000 new Covid-19 cases recorded across SA in the past 24 hours.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases said on Monday that that there were 45,101 tests done in the past 24 hours, of which 13,992 came back positive - at a positivity rate of 31%.

The NICD said that, according to health department data, there were 11 Covid-19 related deaths recorded in the past day.

December 13 2021 - 16:56

Institutionalise and extend Covid-19 grant, says panel of experts

A more sustainable intervention is needed to provide income support to “chronically” poor and structurally unemployed South Africans, even after Covid-19 lockdowns are lifted.

This is according to a report on basic income support for 18 to 60-year-olds which was launched on Monday by the social development department in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The department and the two entities appointed a panel of experts to conduct economic and social research.

December 13 2021 - 12:50

‘DD Mabuza, your time has come’ — SA weighs in on Ramaphosa getting Covid-19

South Africans have flooded social media with reaction to President Cyril Ramaphosa testing positive for Covid-19.

The presidency announced on Sunday Ramaphosa had contracted the virus and is isolating in Cape Town.

Deputy President David Mabuza would be taking over “all responsibilities” for the next week.

December 13 2021 - 12:45

Western Cape has officially entered fourth wave as numbers rise

The Western Cape has officially entered its fourth wave of Covid-19 infections.

The average for the past week is 1,600 new infections per day, which takes the province into the technical definition of the wave.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a wave is declared when the seven-day average hits 30% of the peak of the previous wave. In this case, the threshold was 1,100, so the province is 500 infections per day over that threshold.

December 13 2021 - 12:25

SuperSport United fear further Covid-19 infections could decimate squad

SuperSport United are fearful more Covid-19 infections will decimate their squad and leave them more threadbare for their next outing after they had seven regulars missing for the weekend’s derby against Mamelodi Sundowns.

Coach Kaitano Tembo, captain Rowen Williams and last season’s leading goal scorer Bradley Grobler had to sit out the 1-0 home loss to the champions after testing positive in the days before Saturday’s clash, leaving Andre Arendse in charge of a makeshift team.

December 13 2021 - 12:15

Lockdowns will spell collapse of hospitality industry, Fedhasa warns

The Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) has pleaded with the government not to enforce more Covid-19 lockdowns over the festive season to prevent the collapse of the industry.

Fedhasa chairperson Rosemary Anderson said the organisation has asked tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu to intervene on behalf of the industry.

“Our hospitality businesses cannot survive a repeat of last year December where beach bans, alcohol restrictions and extended curfews shut us down,” she said.

December 13 2021 - 12:00

Return to office plans are turning ‘shybrid’, with ongoing delays

The latest bout of Covid-19 whiplash means many white-collar Americans will be approaching two full years of remote work with no certainty about how long it will last. Until then, the chasm grows between executives who want to eventually get people back at their desks and their workers’ reluctance to comply.

While post-pandemic work models are clear for companies such as Goldman Sachs Group  (most people should be back in the office) and Twitter (most people can be fully remote), many other firms are still formulating a strategy.

“We coined the term ‘shybrid’,” said Paul McKinlay, vice-president of communications and remote working at printing company Cimpress and its unit Vista, which both opted to go with a permanent remote-first model in August 2020. — Bloomberg

December 13 2021 - 11:30

Activists urge Germany to suspend patents on Covid-19 medical tools

Doctors Without Borders (MSF), with civil society bodies, has urged Germany to support the immediate suspension of patents on all Covid-19 medical tools in light of low vaccination rates in SA and other African countries.

A letter signed by civil society groups, patient bodies and human rights activists has been sent to German chancellor Olaf Scholz, economics minister Robert Habeck and development minister Svenja Schulze.

The letter called for an immediate suspension of patents through the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (Trips) waiver — an intellectual rights protocol — at the World Trade Organization, “which to date has been outright blocked by the German government”.

December 13 2021 - 10:30

Boosters provide 70% to 75% protection from Omicron: UK study

Covid vaccine boosters improve protection to as much as 75% against a rapidly spreading Omicron variant that is much more likely to bypass two doses than earlier strains, preliminary UK data shows.

The basic course of shots from AstraZeneca Plc and the Pfizer Inc-BioNTech SE partnership provided much lower defences against symptomatic infection with Omicron  compared with the Delta strain, the initial study showed. A booster lifted protection to 70% to 75% in the early days after the shot.

“These early estimates should be treated with caution, but they indicate a few months after the second jab, there is a greater risk of catching the Omicron variant,” said Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency. — Bloomberg

December 13 2021 - 08:07

Has the risk of Covid-19 reinfection increased with the Omicron variant?

The risk of Covid-19 reinfection is likely greater with the Omicron variant than it was with previous variants.

That’s according to health minister Joe Phaahla.

In a recent media briefing on government’s response to Covid-19, Phaahla said a paper published about the risk of reinfection in SA reports a two to three times higher risk of reinfection for people who contracted Covid-19 previously.

December 13 2021 - 08:01

WATCH | ‘Schooled’ — Dr Angelique Coetzee tells UK to ‘trust’ SA doctors over Omicron

A video of the chairperson of the SA Medical Association (Sama), Dr Angelique Coetzee, telling the host of a UK radio show to trust SA experts studying the Omicron variant has received praise online.

Coetzee, who was among the first doctors to raise the alarm over the new strain, was speaking on LBC about Britain’s reaction to the Omicron variant.

She was adamant the new strain was “much milder” than previous Covid-19 variants.

December 13 2021 - 05:30

How do you feel about paying R500 for a Covid-19 test?

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