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UKZN studies the efficacy of naturally forming COVID-19 antibodies
6 September 2021, 8:58 AM

A study by the University of KwaZulu-Natal is looking to determine the efficacy of naturally forming COVID-19 antibodies.

Led by Associate Professor Veron Ramsuran, the research also wants to study the effect of the vaccine on antibodies themselves.

Professor Ramsuran says the study will explain the relationship between antibodies and the virus itself.

“The study is basically a research study conducted by UKZN which intends to find out how long after COVID-19 infection does antibodies last.”

“Some will have individuals who are infected with COVID-19 and 2 weeks after COVID infection. Antibodies start to form and these anti-bodies are responsible for killing the virus. The question remains as to how long these antibodies last.”

Meanwhile, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) says a significant decrease in new COVID 19 infections points to a decline in the third wave of the pandemic in South Africa.

According to the latest figures, an average of 8 100 new cases was recorded per day in the past seven days. This is 26 percent lower than the previous week.

Reporting by Rachel Vadi and Hoosen Ebrahim

Four South Asian nations back FIFA’s biennial World Cup push
6 September 2021, 6:59 AM

Governing body FIFA’s proposal to hold the World Cup every two years instead of every four has received support from four football federations in South Asia, who said it would spur development of the game in the region.

In May, FIFA’s congress voted to carry out a feasibility study on holding the World Cup and the women’s World Cup every two years, though proposals to change the established four-year cycle are set to face resistance from European governing body UEFA and the continent’s top clubs.

Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka said in a joint statement that they were among the 166 national federations who voted in favour at the congress.

“Four-year gaps between the FIFA World Cup is too great and the window of opportunity too small to preclude whole generations of talent,” the federations said.

“Less than a quarter of current AFC member associations have been represented in almost a century of FIFA World Cup finals in a situation where these tournaments are the real drivers of development.”

The Asian Football Confederation is guaranteed four automatic spots and an intercontinental play-off slot in the men’s 2020 World Cup alongside tournament hosts Qatar.

Germany’s envoy to China dies just two weeks into the job
6 September 2021, 6:49 AM

German ambassador to China Jan Hecker has died, barely two weeks into the job, the European nation’s foreign office said on Monday.

Hecker (54), a foreign policy adviser to Chancellor Angela Merkel, had just taken up his post on August 24, the embassy in the Chinese capital said in a posting on its social media WeChat account.

The cause of death has yet to be confirmed.

“It is with deep sadness and dismay that we learned of the sudden death of the German ambassador to China,” Germany’s Federal Foreign Office said on its website.

An embassy spokesman declined further comment to Reuters.

Hecker had appeared “happy and all right” when he hosted an event about German artist Joseph Beuys at his Beijing home last Friday, a guest at the event said.

Three killed in a suspected gang-related shooting in Paarl
29 August 2021, 12:35 PM

Three men have been killed in a suspected gang-related shooting in Paarl in the Boland. Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa says a fourth person was wounded.

Potelwa says three suspects have been arrested. They are expected to appear in court on Monday.

“When police arrived in Rocky Street, they found four victims with gunshot wounds. Three were already dead and one had sustained serious gunshot injuries.”

Potelwa adds: “A search for the suspects ensued and as part of the 72-hour activation plan with Anti Gang Unit Detectives investigating murder and attempted murder cases. The shooting is believed to be gang-related. Police continue to monitor the area.”

Last week, three men were killed in a gang-related shooting in Lotus River in Cape Town.




Morocco to extend night curfew
3 August 2021, 7:17 AM

Morocco will lengthen its night curfew, starting two hours earlier at 9 pm from Tuesday, as it tightens restrictions to counter a surge of coronavirus infections.

The government says in a statement that the business and tourist hubs of Casablanca, Agadir and Marakech will be closed except to holders of the vaccine pass or those on necessary travel.

The move is expected to hurt the tourism business which pinned hopes on the summer season to attract national tourists after travel receipts dropped 70% in the first half this year.

Daily COVID-19 infections have oscillated between 4 000 and 9000 over the past week as the total number of cases people rose to 569 452 cases, including 9 885 deaths.

However, Morocco has outpaced other African peers in its vaccine push, administering 24 million doses of the AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines.

Last week, the country started administering Johnson and Johnson doses after receiving a shipment of 300 000 shots.

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