COVID-19 WRAP | Covid-19 cases identified in SA increase by 5,668
January 11 2022 - 21:31
Repeat booster shots spur European warning on immune-system risks
Repeat booster doses every four months could eventually weaken the immune system and tire out people, according to the European Medicines Agency. Instead, countries should leave more time between booster programmes and tie them to the onset of the cold season in each hemisphere, following the blueprint set out by influenza vaccination strategies, the agency said.
The advice comes as some countries consider the possibility of offering people second booster shots in a bid to provide further protection against surging Omicron infections. Israel this month became the first nation to start administering a second booster, or fourth shot, to those over 60. The UK has said that boosters are providing good levels of protection and there is no need for a second booster shot at the moment, but it will review data as it evolves.
January 11 2022 - 21:08
Covid-19 cases identified in SA increase by 5,668
Covid-19 cases identified in SA have increased by 5,668, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported on Tuesday.
“A further 119 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 92,649,” the NICD said in its daily update.
The total of laboratory-confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic in SA is 3,534,131, representing a 14% positivity rate.
January 11 2022 - 16:05
John Steenhuisen renews call for scrapping of Covid-19 state of disaster
DA leader John Steenhuisen has again called for an end to the national state of disaster.
Last month the government announced a relaxation in Covid-19 lockdown regulations, scrapping the curfew in time for New Year's Eve but it kept the state of disaster, saying removing it would send the wrong message — that the pandemic was over.
This paved the way for South Africans to enjoy New Year's Eve celebrations without having to dash home before midnight. Previously the Covid-19 curfew was midnight.
January 11 2022 - 12:17
Health department open to engaging on allowing more fans in stadiums
The department of health is open to engagements with relevant sporting stakeholders in a move that may pave the way for the number of vaccinated spectators allowed at stadiums to be increased.
Currently, regulations regarding Covid-19 precautions only permit 2,000 spectators at sporting venues, but some sporting bodies like the Premier Soccer League (PSL) have not taken up the allowance because it does not make financial sense for football clubs.
January 11 2022 - 11:42
EU replaces Southern Africa travel ban with testing requirements
EU member states have agreed to lift the air travel ban on Southern African countries, which will allow more travel to resume.
The decision lifts the so-called emergency brake introduced in November, France, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said in a tweet. Travellers from the region will still be subject to health measures applicable to travellers from third countries, it added.
European nations had suspended most air travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, SA and Zimbabwe as scientists scrambled to assess the severity of the Omicron variant. The bloc maintained the limits even after cases continued to surge around the world, despite an outcry from the region.
January 11 2022 - 10:50
Omicron may have a higher rate of asymptomatic carriage, say experts
Preliminary findings from two clinical trials in SA suggest that Omicron may have a much higher rate of asymptomatic “carriage” than earlier variants of Covid-19.
This higher asymptomatic carriage rate is likely a major factor in the rapid and widespread dissemination of the variant, even among populations with high rates of earlier coronavirus infection, the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) said in a statement.
“As we witness the quick, global spread of Omicron, it is clear that we urgently need a better understanding of the transmission dynamics of this variant,” said Dr Lawrence Corey, senior author of the study.
January 11 2022 - 10:29
Pop-up vaccination sites at border posts open until the weekend: health department
Vaccination sites launched at the start of the festive season at border posts will remain open until Saturday, the health department said on Monday.
The department said it had been working jointly with stakeholders, including the presidency and the transport department, to target travellers entering and leaving SA for vaccination against Covid-19.
January 11 2022 - 09:02
SA could be out of Covid-19 fourth wave within 10 or 11 days, says Prof Adrian Puren
SA could be out of the Covid-19 fourth wave within 10 or 11 days.
This is according to National Institute for Communicable Diseases acting executive director Prof Adrian Puren.
Speaking on Jacaranda FM, Puren said the trajectory of the fourth wave was downwards in the majority of provinces and he hoped that would continue, especially with schools reopening and people returning to their home provinces.
January 11 2022 - 07:00
I share a tap or toilet with others, how can I reduce the risk of getting Covid-19?
While experts have told us to social distance and sanitise, how do we protect ourselves from getting Covid-19 if we share a toilet or tap with others?
The Western Cape government has issued some advice on the best way to keep yourself safe when using a community toilet or tap.
January 11 2022 - 06:54
US reports at least 1.1m Covid-19 cases in a day, shattering global record
The United States reported at least 1.13 million new coronavirus infections on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, the highest daily total of any country in the world as the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant showed no signs of slowing.
The previous record was 1.03 million cases on January 3. A large number of cases are reported each Monday due to many states not reporting over the weekend. The seven-day average for new cases has tripled in two weeks to over 700,000 new infections a day.
January 11 2022 - 06:00
We are moving to a situation 'where we can live with Covid-19'
The UK government is weighing up plans to cut the Covid-19 self-isolation period from seven days to five, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, as he prepares for coronavirus to move from pandemic to endemic in Britain.
In a pooled clip with broadcasters Monday, Johnson also paved the way for the end of free rapid Covid-19 tests, after senior minister Michael Gove told Sky News the UK was moving to a stage where it can “live with Covid-19”.
There are “early signs” of cases and hospital admissions starting to fall in England, Johnson’s spokesperson Max Blain told reporters in a regular briefing. He said that while it was “certainly our expectation” for Britain to ultimately move from pandemic to endemic, it was “too early to say” when this might happen.