COVID-19 WRAP | T-cells from common colds can provide protection against Covid-19: study

10 January 2022 - 06:02
By TimesLIVE
Syringes used to administer doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 are pictured in a container at a booster clinic for 12 to 17-year-olds in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, US, on January 9 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Hannah Beier Syringes used to administer doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 are pictured in a container at a booster clinic for 12 to 17-year-olds in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, US, on January 9 2022.

January 10 2022 - 20:03

Covid-19 stats reveal 8,783 patients are hospitalised in SA

Limpopo accounted for only 2% of the 2,409 new Covid-19 cases reported in SA on Monday by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

Gauteng was on the opposite end of the scale, recording the most cases (34%) followed by the Western Cape (23%) and KwaZulu-Natal (21%).

“Today the institute reports 2,409 new Covid-19 cases that have been identified in SA, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,528,463. This increase represents a 14% positivity rate,” said the NICD.

January 10 2022 - 16:22

Teacher unions to meet Covid-19 prof to 'talk more about schooling in 2022'

Representatives of SA's five teacher unions will be meeting Wits University vaccinology professor Shabir Madhi on Friday to get an update on the Covid-19 pandemic and the implications for schooling.

This comes as schools in inland provinces — Gauteng, the Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West — reopened for teachers on Monday. Pupils in these provinces will start the academic year on Wednesday, while their counterparts in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape will return on January 19.

Basil Manuel, executive director of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA (Naptosa), said the intention of Friday’s meeting with Madhi was to get an update “so that we can talk more about schooling 2022”.

January 10 2022 - 14:52

Pirates striker Mhango to miss Malawi’s Afcon opener after contracting Covid-19

Orlando Pirates striker Frank “Gabadinho” Mhango will miss Malawi’s opening game at the Africa Cup of Nations finals on Monday after testing positive for the Covid-19 virus in Cameroon.

Mhango, who scored a superb free-kick goal for his country in a warm-up friendly against the Comoros Islands in Saudi Arabia last week, is one of six Malawi players who have tested positive, leaving them in dire straits before their opening Group B match against Guinea in Bafoussam, which kicks off at 6pm.

Malawi are now rushing to get Baroka FC striker Richard Mbulu to Cameroon for the match as a replacement. He had been isolating in Saudi Arabia after testing positive there, when Malawi had their pre-tournament training camp, but has since had a negative test. 

January 10 2022 - 14:15

Liverpool Covid-19 outbreak included lots of false positives, says Klopp

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said the Covid-19 outbreak which forced the postponement of their League Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal last week included many false positives, with Trent Alexander-Arnold the only confirmed case.

Liverpool had asked the English Football League to reschedule the game last Thursday due to a "severe outbreak".

Liverpool beat third-tier Shrewsbury Town 4-1 in the FA Cup third round on Sunday, with Klopp having to field four teenagers in the starting side.

January 10 2022 - 13:56

Swab throat too when using rapid Covid-19 test, Israeli health official says

People self-testing for Covid-19 should swab their throat as well as their nose when using rapid antigen kits to increase the chances of detecting the Omicron variant, a top Israeli health official said on Monday.

The recommendation goes against the advice of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has said manufacturers' instructions should still be followed and that any incorrect use of throat swabs could pose a safety risk.

On Israeli Army Radio, Sharon Alroy-Preis, Israel's public health chief, said antigen tests, used widely in the country, are less sensitive than PCR tests in detecting illness. 

January 10 2022 - 12:47

Hong Kong finds new suspected Covid-19 case at official’s scandal-hit birthday party

Hong Kong has confirmed another Covid-19 case linked to a scandal-hit birthday party that’s ensnared a minister in government quarantine as the city rushes to contain an omicron outbreak.  

The 43-year-old woman went for a meal and then to the party with a person who days later tested positive for Covid-19. Because her name hadn’t been on the guest list, she wasn’t swept up in the government’s quarantine of about 200 attendees last week, health officials said in a briefing Sunday.

The woman has been asymptomatic and active in the community in recent days, going to work and dining out at venues across the city. On Saturday, she went to a community testing centre after receiving a compulsory testing notice and was found positive. -Bloomberg

January 10 2022 - 12:43

POLL | Should spectators be allowed back at stadiums?

EFF leader Julius Malema has called for spectators to be allowed to attend events at stadiums, sparking fresh debate.  

Addressing party supporters during the EFF's Siyabonga rally in eThekwini at the weekend, Malema said lifting the restrictions on gatherings would help alleviate unemployment, particularly in the entertainment sector, which has been hardest hit by the restrictions.

January 10 2022 - 12:16

Nadal calls Djokovic controversy 'a circus' ahead of start of Australian Open

Rafa Nadal called Novak Djokovic's Covid-19 vaccination controversy in Australia "a circus" and joked that he would prefer that the world number one tennis player didn't play at the upcoming Australian Open.

Djokovic was released from Australian immigration detention on Monday after winning a court challenge to remain in the country to pursue his bid for a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

"Whether or not I agree with Djokovic on some things, justice has spoken and has said that he has the right to participate in the Australian Open and I think it is the fairest decision to do so, if it has been resolved that way," Nadal told Spanish radio Onda Cero on Monday.

January 10 2022 - 12:14

T-cells from common colds can provide protection against Covid-19: study

High levels of T-cells from common cold coronaviruses can provide protection against Covid-19, an Imperial College London study published on Monday has found, which could inform approaches for second-generation vaccines.

January 10 2022 - 11:48

India says Covid-19 hospitalisation rate at 5-10%

India's health ministry said on Monday only 5-10% of active Covid-19 patients have needed hospitalisation this time around compared with 20-23% in the previous wave that peaked in May.

"The situation is dynamic and evolving, therefore, the need for hospitalisation may also change rapidly," Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote in a letter to state authorities asking them to regularly review their requirements of healthcare workers. – Reuters

January 10 2022 - 11:40

AmaZulu's Manzini Zungu gives Malema's call a thumbs up

AmaZulu director Manzini Zungu has backed EFF leader Julius Malema's call to open football stadiums for fans.

Addressing party supporters at Moses Mabhida’s People’s Park over the weekend, Malema called for the opening of stadiums for sports fans. 

If political events can host 2,000 supporters, sports fans should be allowed to return to stadiums. 

January 10 2022 - 11:05

Australian judge orders Djokovic be released from immigration detention

An Australian judge ruled on Monday that Novak Djokovic be released from immigration detention, finding the government's decision to revoke the tennis star's visa to enter the country was "unreasonable".

Judge Anthony Kelly ordered Djokovic be released within 30 minutes and his passport and other travel documents returned to him, rekindling the world number one's chance to win a record 21st Grand Slam title at the upcoming Australian Open.

However, lawyers for the federal government told the court the country's immigration minister was reserving the right to exercise his personal power to again revoke Djokovic's visa.

January 10 2022 - 10:32

Australian judge raises concerns about how Novak Djokovic was treated

The judge hearing Novak Djokovic's legal challenge to the Australian government's decision to revoke the star tennis player's entry visa raised concerns on Monday about the Serbian's treatment after he was detained on arrival.

Judge Anthony Kelly said it appeared Djokovic had received the required medical exemption from Covid-19 vaccination before he travelled to Melbourne for the Australian Open tennis tournament and presented evidence of that when he landed on Wednesday evening.

"The point that I am somewhat agitated about is what more could this man have done?" Kelly said as Djokovic's lawyers challenged the government's decision to revoke his visa.

January 10 2022 - 07:32

Brazil health regulator asks Bolsonaro to retract criticism over vaccines

The head of Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa has asked the country’s vaccine-sceptic President Jair Bolsonaro to retract statements he made criticising the agency for authorising the vaccination of children against Covid-19.

In a letter to Bolsonaro made public on Saturday, retired rear admiral Antonio Barra Torres asked the president to back his statement that there were undisclosed “interests” behind the vaccine decision or retract his words.

Bolsonaro criticised Anvisa on Thursday for approving the use for children aged five to 11 years of the paediatric vaccine made by Pfizer, saying he had not heard of children dying of Covid-19.

January 10 2022 - 07:22

Vaccine mandate will help restart the economy

SA must finalise a policy on vaccine mandates for certain settings and activities as it seeks to fully reopen its coronavirus-battered economy, the ruling party said.

“The success of our economic recovery depends to a large measure on our ability to effectively manage Covid-19 as this virus is likely to remain part of our lives for the foreseeable future,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said at a rally in Polokwane on Saturday.

The event  marked the 110th anniversary of the ANC’s founding. 

January 10 2022 - 07:00

What is the difference between a rapid antigen and PCR test?

As the number of Covid-19 cases increases, so does the need to test more people. 

The reason for this is that accurate and reliable testing has proven to be an effective way to slow the spread of the coronavirus to save lives and reduce the burden on healthcare systems. 

There are two types of Covid-19 tests — polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and rapid antigen — recommended by government to test for the virus. 

January 10 2022 - 06:15

Hundreds queue for jabs in Naples

Long lines formed in Naples as people rushed to get last-minute Covid-19 shots before Italy introduces more restrictions on unvaccinated people.

January 10 2022 - 06:00

Brazil has 24,382 cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, 44 Covid-19 deaths -ministry

Brazil has had 24,382 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours, and 44 deaths from Covid-19, the health ministry said on Sunday.

The South American country has now registered 22,523,907 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 619,981, according to ministry data.

Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll trails only the United States and Russia, according to Reuters calculations.

Since a hacker attack on December 10, some ministry databases have been offline, affecting monitoring of the pandemic.