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COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 9,860 new Covid-19 cases

06 January 2022 - 06:14 By TimesLIVE
A sign informing customers that Covid-19 tests are out of stock is seen at the entrance of a CVS pharmacy in Miami, Florida, US, on January 5 2022.
A sign informing customers that Covid-19 tests are out of stock is seen at the entrance of a CVS pharmacy in Miami, Florida, US, on January 5 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Marco Bello

January 06 2022 - 20:57

SA hits 3.5-million confirmed Covid-19 cases after 9,860 recorded in 24 hours

SA passed the 3.5-million mark for confirmed Covid-19 cases, latest data from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) showed.

According to the NICD, there were 9,860 new Covid-19 cases recorded in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of confirmed infections to 3,504,554.

The first Covid-19 case recorded in SA was on March 5 2020.

January 06 2022 - 16:35

WATCH | ANC promises adherence to Covid-19 regulations as it gears up for January 8 statement in Limpopo

ANC leaders gathered at their Limpopo offices on Thursday, promising that this weekend's 110th birthday celebrations would adhere to Covid-19 regulations.

This was a few hours before ANC and national President Cyril Ramaphosa walked out of an ANC Women's League gathering that didn't comply with the regulations.

“ANC will celebrate this upcoming anniversary under strict Covid-19 regulations, ensuring that every person physically attending is accredited and within the numbers permissible for outdoor gatherings under the Disaster Management Act,” ANC national executive committee member Nomvula Mokonyane told a press conference. 

January 06 2022 - 14:05

LISTEN | Australians' distaste at ‘Novax’ Djokovic’s jab exemption puts pressure on authorities

Australians on Wednesday said they were unhappy with the decision to grant world No 1 men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic medical exemption from Covid-19 vaccination to enter the country and play in the Australian Open Grand Slam tournament.

“I think it’s a disgrace. We’ve all done the right thing, we’ve all gone out and got our jabs and our boosters and we have someone that’s come from overseas and all of a sudden he’s been exempt and can play,” said Melbourne local Christine Wharton.

On Thursday the government reportedly cancelled Djokovic’s visa to pacify public anger about exemption.

January 06 2022 - 13:49

Lure of Africa Cup of Nations games wins few vaccine sceptics over

Largely empty stadiums could become a feature of this month's Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), which kicks off on Sunday, due mainly to Cameroon's paltry Covid-19 vaccination rate.

The host nation last month made full vaccination and a negative coronavirus test compulsory for spectators at Africa's premier soccer tournament.

With scepticism about the vaccines' safety and importance widespread, the country's inoculation levels are extremely low - though the lure of live soccer has convinced some fans to set their misgivings aside.

January 06 2022 - 13:31

Western Cape passes fourth wave peak, premier calls for end to state of disaster

Western Cape premier Alan Winde says the province has passed the peak of its fourth wave of Covid-19 and a consistent decline in cases can be expected in the coming weeks.

“While the number of cases and test positivity rate exceeded the second and third wave peaks respectively, hospitalisations were lower and deaths remained low,” he said on Thursday.

There had been no need to open all field hospital wards and “our health platform maintained sufficient capacity to respond”.

Winde called for an end to the national state of disaster.

January 06 2022 - 13:17

Africa CDC says severe lockdowns no longer tool to contain Covid-19

Africa's top public health official said on Thursday that severe lockdowns were no longer the best way to contain Covid-19, praising SA for adopting that approach when responding to its latest infection wave driven by the Omicron variant.

“We are very encouraged with what we saw in SA during this period where they look at the data in terms of severity (of infections)," John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), told a news conference.

“The period where we are using severe lockdowns as a tool is over. We should actually be looking at how we use public health and social measures more carefully and in a balanced way as the vaccination increases.” – Reuters

January 06 2022 - 11:55

Italians weigh in on vaccine mandate for the elderly

Italy made Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for people from the age of 50, one of the very few European countries to take similar steps, in an attempt to ease pressure on its health service and reduce fatalities.

January 06 2022 - 11:21

Australia suffers record Covid-19 cases, straining businesses and supply chains

Fuelled by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, Australia's daily coronavirus infections soared to a fresh peak on Thursday, overwhelming hospitals, while isolation rules caused labour shortages, putting a strain on businesses and supply chains.

With Thursday's count still incomplete, Australia so far has reported 72,392 new infections easily exceeding the high of 64,774 set a day earlier. Western Australia is due to post its new cases later.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, facing a federal election before May, is under pressure over his handling of the Omicron outbreak due to stock shortages of antigen tests and hours-long wait times at testing centres. – Reuters

January 06 2022 - 10:27

Nadal 'sorry' for Djokovic but says Serb knew the risks

Rafa Nadal said he feels sorry for Novak Djokovic after the world No 1 was denied entry into Australia but added that the Serb knew for months he could potentially face problems if he arrived without being vaccinated against Covid-19.

Djokovic, 34, was detained by officials at the border on Thursday amid a storm of protest about the decision to grant him a medical exemption from vaccination requirements to play in the Australian Open.

January 06 2022 - 09:44

US strengthens infection controls at military bases in Japan

US military bases in Japan introduced stricter measures on Thursday to tackle an increase in Covid-19 cases as the government expressed grave concern over the outbreak. 

US Forces Japan said it is “establishing more stringent mitigation measures in a further effort to prevent virus transmission”.

The measures include requiring US military personnel to wear masks off base and for stricter testing mandates, it said in a press release.

Earlier, Japanese foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi requested US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that US service members be restricted from leaving base, chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters. – Reuters

January 06 2022 - 09:32

Panama tightens vaccination requirements for public officials as Covid-19 cases rise

Panama moved to require all public officials to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or undergo weekly coronavirus testing, the health minister said on Wednesday, as the Central American country grappled with a surge in coronavirus cases.

Health minister Luis Francisco Sucre announced in a news conference that Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo had signed the decree, which mandated public functionaries receive three doses of a coronavirus vaccine or provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test each Monday.

"If there is something that cannot be stopped, it is the government institutions that have to continue to function," Sucre said, adding the measure would take effect on January 28.

Panama registered 4,372 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday.

At least 6-million vaccine doses have been administered in Panama to its population of about 4.2-million people, according to government data. About 90% of the target population, or those above 12 years old, has received at least one vaccine dose and 81% has had a second dose.

The government last month said it would cut the rollout time for booster doses  n half, after the country detected its first case of the Omicron variant. More than 400,000 booster doses have been administered. – Reuters

January 06 2022 - 07:00

How can I keep safe while travelling after the holiday season?

The National department of health is urging South Africans to continue observing safety protocols when travelling to minimise the spread of Covid-19. 

As more people travel between provinces after the festive season, whether by air, personal vehicle or public transport, they are at risk of contracting Covid-19.

The department advises that when using public transport or travelling with other people, keep the windows open to ensure there is sufficient ventilation in the vehicle and reduce the chances of getting the virus.

January 06 2022 - 06:53

SA excess deaths peak at fraction of previous Covid-19-driven record

Excess deaths, a measure of the number of deaths against a historical average, in the week to December 26 fell to 3,016 from 3,087 the week earlier, the SA Medical Research Council said in a report on Wednesday.

Official deaths due to Covid-19 declined to 425 from 428. The excess death decline was the first in three weeks. – Bloomberg

January 06 2022 - 06:40

Israeli pensioners party after fourth vaccine dose

Pensioners at the Lev Ganim assisted-living facility in the Israeli city of Netanya, still in protective masks, held a dance party to celebrate receiving their fourth Covid-19 vaccine injections. – Reuters

January 06 2022 - 06:30

India's new Covid-19 cases jump 57% in a day to 90,928

India's new Covid-19 cases soared to 90,928 in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday, from 58,097 a day earlier.

Daily deaths rose by 325, taking the total to 482,876. Total infections are at 35.11-million. – Reuters

January 06 2022 - 06:25

Thailand raises Covid-19 alert level due to Omicron spread

Thailand on Thursday raised its Covid-19 alert level following rising infections driven by the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, a senior health official said.

The change, from level three to four, sets a pretext for possible measures that could follow, such as closing high-risk areas and placing restrictions on domestic travel or public gatherings, said Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary of the health ministry. – Reuters

January 06 2022 - 06:15

Health officials urge schools to stay open despite Omicron

With the Omicron variant igniting a record-setting surge of Covid-19, school administrators are grappling over how and whether to keep classrooms open. – Reuters

January 06 2022 - 06:00

CDC backs five-day isolation guidance, no test needed

The US CDC backed its week-old guidance for people seeking to end their Covid-19 isolation at five days, adding they could take a rapid antigen test if they want to and can access one, but it is not required. – Reuters

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