Oct 19, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

COVID-19 WRAP | 220 dead, 13,300 infected in a day as Covid-19 third wave bites

June 29 2021 – 20:08

220 dead, 13,300 infected in a day as Covid-19 third wave bites

Another 226 people were confirmed to have died from Covid-19 in SA in the past 24 hours, as the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic continues to climb.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said that in the same period, here were 13,347 new Covid-19 cases recorded, with Gauteng continuing to bear the brunt of the third wave. The new cases came at a positivity rate of 26.2%.

There have now been 1,954,466 confirmed cases to date, and 60,264 deaths.

June 29 2021 – 15:49

SA could be well into fourth wave at election time in October, experts warn

SA should forge ahead with the October 27 local government elections only if 80% of high-risk individuals are vaccinated against Covid-19 or the country records a consistent decline in Covid-19 mortality rates.

But given the slow rate of the vaccination rollout and a possible fourth wave of infections, this would be impossible to achieve, leading experts said on Tuesday.

Wits University vaccinologist Prof Shabir Madhi and the head of the SA National Aids Council, Dr Fareed Abdullah, expressed these sentiments at the Moseneke inquiry which is conducting public hearings into whether the upcoming elections will be free and fair under lockdown regulations.

June 29 2021 – 13:55

‘Police will have no choice but to act’, says Bheki Cele on lockdown rules

Police minister Bheki Cele has thrown down the gauntlet about lockdown restriction enforcement: “Those who choose to drop the ball” will leave officers with “no choice but to act”.

During a briefing by ministers who serve on thenational coronavirus command council, Cele said for the next two weeks it will not be “business as usual” and “law enforcement officers will play a critical role in ensuring mass compliance”.

He said since March 27 last year, 465,098 people had been charged for contravening the Disaster Management Act and 7,439 of them were arrested during last year’s alert level 3.

He confirmed that the military is present in Gauteng but emphasised they are there to provide support to medical workers and are not permitted to get involved in enforcing regulations.

June 29 2021 – 13:43

Russia’s Sputnik V shot around 90% effective against Delta variant – RIA

Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is around 90% effective against the Delta variant of coronavirus, the RIA news agency cited Denis Logunov, deputy director of the Gamaleya Institute that developed the vaccine, as saying on Tuesday.

The shot was previously found by the researchers to be almost 92% effective against the original strain of coronavirus.

Logunov said the Delta variant efficacy figure was calculated based on information from digital medical records and on vaccination records.

Reuters

June 29 2021 – 13:34

Greece to allow vaccinated people in restaurants without masks

Greece will allow people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus inside restaurants without masks, the government said on Tuesday, as part of measures to boost inoculation rates.

The country has been easing restrictions as Covid-19 infections fall, but concerns are rising over the more contagious Delta variant. Face masks have been mandatory in all indoor public spaces.

The first target is to facilitate the vaccination project. To bring as many people as possible (to vaccination centres),” state minister George Gerapetritis told reporters.

From July 15, vaccinated spectators will be allowed at sports venues for the first time but they will have to wear masks. Mask wearing will still be required in theatres and cinemas.

More than 30.2% of Greece’s eligible population have been fully vaccinated so far and 43.1% have had at least one dose. The government aims to get to a 70% rate by the autumn.

People who are not fully vaccinated can still enter restaurants, theatres and cinemas but will need to show a negative rapid test, authorities said.

Restaurant and cafe owners can decide to accept only fully vaccinated customers using 85% of their space capacity or accept also unvaccinated clients using only 50% of their capacity, Gerapetritis added.

Earlier this week, the government said it would offer young people a 150 euro ($178.49) cash card and a free month of phone data to get vaccinated.

Reuters

June 29 2021 – 13:24

Wine industry heads to court over booze ban in Western Cape

Vinpro, which represents close to 2,600 SA wine grape producers, cellars and other wine-related businesses, on Tuesday launched an urgent interim interdict application to lift the ban on the sale of wine in the Western Cape.

June 29 2021 – 12:51

Durban beaches open for swimming but no group activities warns municipality

Durban’s beaches will remain open for swimming, but forget frolicking in the surf in groups.

This is the word from the eThekwini municipality, which late on Monday announced the closure of several public facilities and provided guidelines regarding the restricted access that will be permitted in some parks and amenities.

The decision by the municipality follows the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday to move the country to adjusted alert level 4 of lockdown.

Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the move is to ensure the safety of employees and the public.

June 29 2021 – 11:42

Former Bosasa executive Frans Vorster dies from Covid-19 complications

Bosasa’s former fleet manager Frans Vorster has died.

This was confirmed by his attorney Daniel Witz, who said Vorster died on Saturday from complications related to Covid-19.

His daughter Marissa Viljoen posted a moving tribute to her father on Facebook, describing him “as a man with a passion for rugby, a brain for business and a heart for his people, a humble man, someone who will give you his last, a loving person”.

June 29 2021 – 11:28

Moderna SE Asia partner says regional vaccine supplies booked until year-end

Zuellig Pharma, Moderna’s supply partner for Covid-19 vaccines in Southeast Asia, said on Tuesday that regional orders for the mRNA vaccine were almost fully booked for this year, highlighting procurement challenges for countries slow off the mark.

Singapore-headquartered Zuellig is involved in the distribution, regulatory approvals and purchase contracts for Moderna Inc’s vaccines for use in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

“A lot of the transactions that are being done today will be for 2022 … because the supply of Moderna vaccine is pretty much exhausted already for 2021,” Zuellig CEO John Graham told Reuters.

Graham said there will be some availability towards the end of this year.”

But one should assume that if you’re starting to negotiate today, you’re looking at 2022 before you get any supply,” he added.

Still, the situation could change depending the supply dynamics, he said. Graham declined to provide specifics on negotiations or deals, citing confidentiality.

Reuters

June 29 2021 – 10:34

Ireland might demand a vaccine to drink inside pubs and restaurants

Ireland’s government is to decide on Tuesday whether to permit only those who are fully vaccinated to eat and drink inside bars and restaurants.

Speaking to journalists before a cabinet meeting, transport minister Eamon Ryan said the government was considering a recommendation by the National Public Health Emergency Team that would require people to “show vaccination status”.

The restrictions could mean delaying Monday’s planned re-opening of indoor hospitality to allow time to develop a system to manage the changes. Ireland would be one of the first places in Europe to introduce the measure.

Bars, restaurants, and cafes have been closed in Ireland for much of the past 16 months, with the latest national lockdown in place since late December. Outdoor dining and drinking has been allowed since June 7.

The country has the fifth highest rate of Covid-19 infections of the 31 countries monitored by the European Centre for Disease Control.

Reuters

June 29 2021 – 09:40

Australia tightens lockdown amid Delta virus outbreak, vaccine chaos

Australia reported a slight rise in Covid-19 infections on Tuesday, while officials in several states tightened movement curbs and pushed for vaccinations to limit flare-ups of the highly infectious Delta variant.

After months in which it had nearly stamped out the virus, Australia is battling the variant in five of its eight states and territories, just two weeks after an infection in key city Sydney involving a limousine driver of overseas airline crew.

Worries that the variant first detected in India could touch off outbreaks have forced lockdowns in three large cities and curbs of varying strictness in several more, affecting more than 20 million Australians, or about 80% of the population.

Northern Queensland state imposed a three-day lockdown in capital Brisbane and neighbouring regions from Tuesday evening. The Western Australian capital of Perth began a four-day lockdown from Tuesday, joining Sydney and Darwin.

“The risk is real and we need to act quickly, we need to go hard, we need to go fast,” said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. The state reported two new local cases.

Sydney, home to a fifth of Australia’s population, is in a two-week lockdown until July 9, while a stay-home order in the outback city of Darwin was extended by 72 hours to Friday. The Sydney outbreak has grown to nearly 150 cases.

Mandatory masks and limits on gatherings are among the curbs across Australia.

Reuters

June 29 2021 – 08:59

Nigeria adds SA to its Covid-19 ‘red list’ for arriving travellers

Nigeria is adding SA to its “red list” of countries for which there are stringent restrictions for arriving passengers, officials said during a briefing on Monday.

June 29 2021 – 08:40

Australia deputy leader fined for not wearing mask in breach of Covid-19 rules

Australia’s deputy prime minister was fined for failing to wear a mask in a service station in violation of Covid-19 prevention orders, the authorities said on Tuesday, the country’s most powerful person to face repercussions for non-compliance.

June 29 2021 – 08:30

Third AstraZeneca shot gives strong immunity

An Oxford University study found that a third dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine increased antibody and T-cell immune responses, while the second dose could be delayed up to 45 weeks and also lead to an enhanced immune response.

June 29 2021 – 08:20

EXPLAINER | Are Chinese Covid-19 shots effective against the Delta variant?

Many countries from China to Indonesia and Brazil rely heavily on Chinese vaccines to inoculate their people against Covid-19, but there are growing concerns about whether they provide enough protection against the Delta variant, first identified in India.

Below are views from China’s health experts about the effectiveness of home-grown vaccines against the Delta, which is becoming the globally dominant variant, and virus preventive measures China is taking.

June 29 2021 – 08:00

Italy scraps masks outdoors. Some don’t want to

Italy has scrapped the requirement to wear masks outdoors but some locals remain reluctant to discard their masks so quickly.

June 29 2021 – 07:30

LA County recommends indoor masks irrespective of vaccination status

Los Angeles County health officials have recommended that all residents wear masks in public indoor spaces irrespective of whether they have been vaccinated or not for Covid-19 due to the increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Monday’s announcement of the recommendation by the health department in the country’s most populous county comes as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that Delta variants are now responsible for about one in every five new infections across the country.

Despite the latest recommendation, LA County health officials noted that “fully vaccinated people appear to be well protected from infections with Delta variants.”

“Public Health strongly recommends people wear masks indoors in settings such as grocery or retail stores; theaters and family entertainment centers, and workplaces when you don’t know everyone’s vaccination status,” the county’s health department said.

Reuters

June 29 2021 – 07:00

DA calls for the extension of Ters to support the hospitality industry under lockdown level 4

TheDAhas called on the government to extend theUnemployment Insurance Fund’s Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) for the duration of lockdown alert level 4 to support the hospitality industry and its employees.

June 29 2021 – 07:00

I saw it on TikTok — does swinging your arm stop the pain after getting a Covid-19 vaccine jab?

Swinging your arm in a windmill motion to stop the pain after getting a Covid-19 vaccine jab does not work.

Over the past few weeks, a popular TikTok “hack” has seen many users rotating their arms to try to ease the pain after getting a jab.

On the app, teen users from around the globe share videos of themselves doing the challenge, claiming that it helps ease the pain.

June 29 2021 – 06:15

Delta alert: world needs urgent response to Covid’s most infectious variant

At the weekend Sydney was put under a mandatory stay-at-home order for two weeks in response to the risk posed by the Covid-19 Delta variant. This came as a surprise to many, especially those who rightly view Australia as having been among the best at managing the virus, with its very low infections, hospitalisations and deaths.

June 29 2021 – 06:10

India reports 37,566 new Covid-19 infections, 907 deaths

India reported 37,566 new Covid-19 infections over the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Tuesday, taking the South Asian nation’s tally to 30.31 million, with a death toll of 397,637.

Coronavirus-related deaths rose by 907 overnight.

Reuters

June 29 2021 – 06:00

Cold weather and ‘zero understanding’ of virus behaviour fuelling Covid-19 spread

“It’s too late now to do anything. When we spoke out, they should have listened,” said SA Medical Association chairperson Dr Angelique Coetzee.