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COVID-19 WRAP | UK acted unlawfully with 'VIP lane' for lucrative Covid-19 PPE contracts

12 January 2022 - 06:17 By TIMESLIVE
A student reacts as he receives a dose of vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as the country continues mass vaccination program for children aged 6-11, while the Omicron variant continues to spread, in Depok, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, January 11, 2022.
A student reacts as he receives a dose of vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as the country continues mass vaccination program for children aged 6-11, while the Omicron variant continues to spread, in Depok, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, January 11, 2022.
Image: Antara Foto/Asprilla Dwi Adha/via REUTERS

January 12 2022 - 22:39

'Heartfelt apologies': UK PM Boris Johnson admits attending lockdown party

Prime minister Boris Johnson apologised on Wednesday for attending a “bring your own booze” gathering at his official residence during Britain's first coronavirus lockdown, as a senior figure in his party and opponents said he should resign.

Johnson admitted for the first time that he had attended the party at 10 Downing Street in May 2020 when Covid-19 rules limited social gatherings to a bare minimum, saying he understood the public anger.

“I know the rage they feel with me over the government I lead when they think that in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules,” an ashen-faced Johnson told parliament. “I offer my heartfelt apologies,” he said.

 

January 12 2022 - 18:43

UK acted unlawfully with 'VIP lane' for lucrative Covid-19 PPE contracts

The British government acted unlawfully by setting up a fast-track “VIP lane” to allow ministers and officials to recommend suppliers of personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic, a London court ruled on Wednesday.

Opposition politicians have accused the government of running a “chumocracy”, awarding deals to those with family or business links to people in power, including for what turned out to be unusable PPE in some cases.

The campaign groups, the Good Law Project and EveryDoctor, brought legal action claiming some suppliers were given an unfair advantage in obtaining contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

 


January 12 2022 - 13:27

Covid-19 ill-health leave cost the state R14bn, says Ayanda Dlodlo

The state has spent more than R14bn on public servants who have used sick and incapacity leave since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

This was revealed by public service and administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo in a written parliamentary response published this week.

Between March 28 2020 and October 31 2021, 881,152 employees used these types of leave.

January 12 2022 - 13:10

Covid-19 study to assess Pfizer, J&J suitability for HIV infected

A Covid-19 vaccine trial in SA will assess the safety and impact of varying doses of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Pfizer shots as boosters for those infected with HIV and the wider population.

The study carried out by the Johannesburg-based Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute will recruit about 300 health workers, of which about a third will be HIV-positive, said Dr Lee Fairlie, head of child and maternal health at the institute.

January 12 2022 - 11:07

Taxi industry finally accepts Covid-19 relief funds

In what the government has described as the first step towards formalising the multibillion-rand taxi industry, sector bosses on Tuesday finally accepted the R1.135bn Covid-19 relief fund.

This followed months of intense wrangling, name-calling and protests over the amount and stringent conditions attached to it since it was unveiled in 2021.

January 12 2022 - 10:53

‘We are ready for them’: Fikile Mbalula warns taxi relief fund scammers

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says the department is “ready” and will keep a watchful eye on scammers who apply for relief funding meant for qualifying taxi operators.

On Tuesday Mbalula outlined the implementation of the relief fund for taxi and e-hailing operators meant to ease the impact of lost income during the Covid-19 pandemic.

January 12 2022 - 07:00

I’m not sure if I have Covid-19, should I stay home or can I go out?

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) recommends staying home if you’re unwell and suspect you may have a common cold or Covid-19.

This will help reduce the chances of infecting others who might be severely ill, if you are infected with Covid-19.

The institute says the dominant variant, Omicron, may make it harder to tell.

January 12 2022 - 06:15

Canada's Quebec working on plan to get unvaccinated residents to pay up, says premier

Canada's Quebec province is working on a plan to require unvaccinated residents to pay a "health contribution," Premier Francois Legault said on Tuesday.

Legault said even though the province has a low proportion of unvaccinated people, they account for about 50% of those in intensive care units.

People who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons would be exempt under the proposal, Legault told reporters at a briefing.

-Reuters

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