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COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 15,424 new Covid-19 cases

21 December 2021 - 06:46 By TimesLIVE
A worker speaks to people queued inside their cars at the St.Vincent's Bondi Covid-19 testing centre on December 21 2021 in Sydney, Australia. People traveling to Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia are required to show a negative PCR test to enter those states.
A worker speaks to people queued inside their cars at the St.Vincent's Bondi Covid-19 testing centre on December 21 2021 in Sydney, Australia. People traveling to Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia are required to show a negative PCR test to enter those states.
Image: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

December 21 2021 – 19:29

Covid-19 in SA: 15,424 new cases, 35 deaths and 633 hospital admissions in 24 hours

More than 9,000 people are currently hospitalised for Covid-19 related treatment as the fourth wave continues to spread across SA.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Tuesday night, there were 633 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours, meaning that there are currently 9,023 people being treated in facilities across SA.

December 21 2021 – 15:16

Futile Covid-19 tests for mild cases are crippling healthcare, warn Cape doctors

Pointless Covid-19 testing has become a public health threat as the Omicron variant continues to deliver a wave of mild cases, a group of Western Cape doctors said on Tuesday.

Calling for monitoring to be switched “away from cases towards hospitalisations”, the medics said attempts to meet the demand for tests as SA’s fourth wave of infections surges are “deeply damaging to all other primary healthcare services”.

December 21 2021 – 13:28

We can’t force people to vaccinate: KZN health MEC amid Covid-19 surge

Nomagugu Simelane, the MEC for health in KwaZulu-Natal, which has become a Covid-19 hotspot, has criticised those falling for conspiracy theories and hesitating to vaccinate.

KwaZulu-Natal accounted for almost 2,500 of SA’s more than 8,500 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

The institute said on Monday that 8,515 new cases had been reported, taking the total number of confirmed infections to 3,316,585.

December 21 2021 – 13:09

University pushes to get Gauteng's undocumented communities jabbed

More than 4,000 people, including the homeless, those who have lost their identity documents and informal settlement dwellers, have received their Covid-19 vaccinations as part of a push by the University of Pretoria to immunise undocumented communities in Gauteng.

The university's community-orientated primary care research unit is leading the drive with partners from the international community, local NGOs and religious community leaders as well as the departments of health and local government.

Under the GIZ/UP project, vaccination has been open since October at clinics in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and Tshwane. There are also pop-up vaccination sites in informal settlements and inner-cities for homeless people.

December 21 2021 – 12:16

POLL | Are you 'Decembering'?

If social media is anything to go by, many users are seeing December differently this year

While the festive season is usually considered a "lifestyle" rather than a regular month, many on social media say this one presents a different vibe.

After the Covid-19 pandemic took over almost two years ago, festive celebrations have been under scrutiny.

December 21 2021 – 11:04

Premier League reports record 90 Covid-19 cases in past week

A record 90 new cases of Covid-19 were detected among Premier League players and staff in the past week, the league said, as clubs decided to press ahead with the busy festive fixture list despite the escalating crisis. — Reuters

December 21 2021 – 11:02

Nadal tests positive for Covid-19, now doubtful for Australia Open

Rafael Nadal said on Monday he had tested positive for Covid-19 after returning from his comeback appearance at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last week.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion and former world number one said he was having some “unpleasant moments”, but was hoping to feel better soon and would keep people informed about his plans for future tournaments.

The positive test casts further doubt on whether the 35-year-old will participate in next month's Australian Open, a tournament he has won once and finished runner-up in four times, having already said he could not guarantee he would play. — Reuters

December 21 2021 – 10:35

Tshwane worried about Covid-19 infection rate among health workers

The Tshwane health department has expressed concern about the high infection rate among its healthcare workers.

MMC for health Rina Marx said more than 200 healthcare workers there had tested positive for Covid-19 by the beginning of November.

Marx said nearly 60 of these workers are now in isolation.

December 21 2021 – 10:06

Omicron cases no less severe than Delta, Covid-19 lowers sperm count

Infections caused by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus do not appear to be less severe than infections from Delta, according to early data from the UK.

Researchers at Imperial College London compared 11,329 people with confirmed or likely Omicron infections with nearly 200,000 people infected with other variants.

Meanwhile, sperm quality is impaired for months for some people after recovery from Covid-19, researchers have found.

The semen itself was not infectious, the researchers found. But among 35 men who provided samples within a month after recovery from symptomatic infection, reductions in sperm motility were evident in 60% and sperm counts were reduced in 37%.

December 21 2021 – 08:24

Covid-19 isolation should be cut to seven days: advisory committee

The isolation period for Covid-19 patients with symptoms should be reduced from 10 days to seven, the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) has recommended.

However, everyone with symptoms should be required to wear a mask at all times — even at home — from day eight to day 10, the committee says.

Its recommendation to health minister Joe Phaahla is dated December 16, the same date it suggested quarantining be discontinued with immediate effect for contacts of cases of Covid-19.

December 21 2021 – 07:15

Now-dominant Omicron variant drives surge in Covid-19 cases across US

Covid-19 cases surged in New York City and across the US over the weekend, dashing hopes for a more normal holiday season, resurrecting restrictions and stretching the country's testing infrastructure ahead of holiday travel and gatherings.

The fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus has become dominant in the US at lightning speed, and claimed the life on Monday of an unvaccinated man in Texas, officials said.

The spike in Covid-19 cases is alarming public health officials, who fear an explosion of infections after the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

December 21 2021 – 07:06

How does the fourth wave compare to previous waves so far?

Health minister Joe Phaahla said on Friday the number of Covid-19 infections being experienced during the fourth wave is higher than that at the peaks of the previous waves.

He said this was measured by the weekly average number of infections which currently stands at 37 per 100,000 of population.

In the first wave, this number was 21 per 100,000 of the population. In the second and third waves, the peak was at 32 and 33 per 100,000 of the population. 

December 21 2021 – 06:53

Singapore finds first Omicron cluster, expects more cases

Singapore reported its first suspected local Omicron cluster, a group of three Covid-19 infections traced to a gym, the health ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The potential spread of the highly contagious variant within the community is likely to prompt further concerns about new reversals in the city-state’s reopening as its worst virus surge yet subsides. 

The rapid spread of Omicron in other European countries and the US have already prompted new curbs there to slow its surge. Omicron quickly became the dominant variant in the US, rising to 73% of all sequenced Covid-19 cases in the country from about 3% last week, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. 

December 21 2021 – 06:45

Hong Kong adds UK to high-risk list as curbs impede travel

Hong Kong residents returning from the UK must stay at a government-run quarantine centre, though the city slashed the number of days arrivals must spend there.

The UK will be added to a category that calls for the strictest measures in which travellers are sent to Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre, according to a government statement on Monday. The change takes effect on Tuesday.

People coming from nations on the list will now spend four days at the facility — down from the previous seven — if they have a reservation at a designated hotel for the rest of their 21-day quarantine. — Bloomberg

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