COVID-19 WRAP | Institute reports 159 new Covid-19 deaths and 5,920 new cases in SA

13 January 2022 - 06:10
By TimesLIVE
EMS paramedics transport an 82-year-old woman suffering from possible symptoms after she was exposed to a Covid-19 positive family member, in Shawnee, Oklahoma, US, on January 12 2022.
Image: REUTERS/Nick Oxford EMS paramedics transport an 82-year-old woman suffering from possible symptoms after she was exposed to a Covid-19 positive family member, in Shawnee, Oklahoma, US, on January 12 2022.

13 January 2022 - 13:24

Institute reports 159 new Covid-19 deaths and 5,920 new cases in SA

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported 5,920 new Covid-19 cases in SA on Thursday.

There were 159 new deaths reported and of these, 51 occurred in the past 24-48 hours bringing the total number of fatalities since the start of the pandemic to 92,989.

"Due to the ongoing audit exercise by the national department of health there may be a backlog of Covid-19 mortality cases reported," said the NICD.

13 January 2022 - 13:24

Africa CDC talking to Pfizer about importing Covid-19 treatment pill

Africa's top public health body is in talks with Pfizer about bringing in supplies of its antiviral Paxlovid treatment pills for Covid-19 to the continent, its director said on Thursday. 

Paxlovid was nearly 90% effective in preventing hospitalisations and deaths, and data suggested it retains its effectiveness against Omicron, Pfizer has said.

“We are in discussions with Pfizer to see what can be done to make the drugs available and accessible on the continent, that is the Paxlovid drugs,” said John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control.

13 January 2022 - 13:17 

Swiss shorten quarantine period to five days as Omicron spreads

Switzerland will shorten isolation and quarantine to five days from 10 as an increasing number of countries reduce their guidance to avoid disruptions to essential services. 

Anyone ending isolation after contraction will have to have been symptom-free for 48 hours, the government said Wednesday. Those who have had the virus or a vaccine in the past four months won’t have to go into contact quarantine. The measures take effect from Thursday.

More nations are cutting quarantine periods as the highly-transmissible omicron variant leads to record numbers of infections and workers either on sick leave or in quarantine. So far, the omicron wave has been characterised by fewer symptomatic cases and lower death rates, though the sheer number of infections poses a risk to healthcare infrastructure. 

13 January 2022 - 12:00

EFF calls on Motshekga to readmit Covid-19 dropouts

The EFF has called on basic education minister Angie Motshekga to ensure that pupils who dropped out of school due to Covid-19 are readmitted.

This comes after the basic education department on Tuesday revealed that up to 700,000 pupils had dropped out over the past two years.

The department estimates that between 150,000 and 700,000 pupils dropped out of school due to Covid-19 disruptions.

In a statement, the EFF said the huge dropouts were due to “the directionless leadership within the department”, worsened by rotational timetabling and lack of adequate support for educators and pupils.

13 January 2022 - 11:30

Prof Abdool Karim says future Covid-19 variants are likely to be ‘much weaker’ than Omicron

SA is likely to be out of the Covid-19 fourth wave within days, and epidemiologist Prof Salim Abdool Karim believes the worst of the variants could be over.

Speaking on SABC News this week, the former government adviser and leading infectious diseases epidemiologist said future variants could be much weaker than Omicron . 

He said future variants could continue to evolve and spread faster, but cause less severe disease.

“What we are likely to see now with future variants is that to displace Omicron it’s going to have to be able to spread even faster. 

13 January 2022 - 10:35

Covid-19 pneumonia deaths sharply down in fourth wave, say Western Cape researchers

A comparison of Covid-19-related deaths in the third and fourth waves of the pandemic has confirmed that the virus itself is killing fewer patients during the latest Omicron-fuelled wave. 

Instead, more deaths are occurring among Covid-19 patients who have conditions such as diabetes, stroke, tuberculosis and cancer.

Western Cape scientists who analysed the first 50 deaths in each wave among patients admitted to public-sector hospitals with SARS-CoV-2 infection said their findings were in line with anecdotal reports from doctors and lower oxygen consumption by hospitals during the fourth wave.

13 January 2022 - 09:20

Omicron a ‘welcome’ variant, says Bolsonaro amid surge

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said the omicron strain that’s causing a surge in Covid-19 cases at home and abroad could be called a “vaccine virus” and is a “welcome” variant.

“Some studious and serious people — and not linked to pharmaceutical companies — say that omicron is welcome and can in fact signal the end of the pandemic,” Bolsonaro said Wednesday in an interview with Gazeta Brasil website.

13 January 2022 - 07:20

Japan's Osaka prefecture to see about 2,400 new coronavirus cases, governor says -media

Japan's western prefecture of Osaka expects to record about 2,400 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, local media cited its governor, Hirofumi Yoshimura, as saying.

The prefecture had 1,711 cases on Wednesday.


13 January 2022 - 07:08

Western Cape and Gauteng leading latest surge of Covid-19 infections

Data shows 181 Covid-19 related deaths and 6,762 new infections recorded in the latest 24-hour reporting period. 

The majority of new cases reported on Wednesday evening are from the Western Cape (28%), followed by Gauteng (22%), said the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

13 January 2022 - 07:03

Can the Covid-19 vaccine cause throat cancer?

The health department has again encouraged the public to report any adverse events after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.  

This comes after a video clip of a man who appears to have throat cancer was spread on social media, saying it was caused by a Covid-19 jab. 

13 January 2022 - 06:30

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

Between March 28 2020 and October 31 2021, 881,152 employees used normal sick leave and incapacity leave

13 January 2022 - 06:18 

‘Condom approach’ should apply to Covid-19 vaccines: Julius Malema

People have been told to use condoms to protect themselves against HIV/Aids but many never heeded the call and were not excluded from anything in society.

The same should apply to people who elect not to have a Covid-19 vaccination.

That’s according to EFF leader Julius Malema during a conversation with the media on wide-ranging issues in Kagiso, on the West Rand, on Wednesday.

Malema’s comments come after various institutions of higher learning such as the University of Johannesburg (UJ) adopted mandatory vaccination as a policy for all prospective students this year.

13 January 2022 - 06:00

JONATHAN JANSEN | Hey, Angie, get those kids fully and safely to school

Stop rotational schooling, ensure people are vaxxed and masked, and that all schools are provided with PPE