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SA produced nano-satellites take orbit
13 January 2022, 6:48 PM

South Africa’s space programme has made history by launching three locally produced nano-satellites into space today. The trio of lightweight satellites called MDASat-1 was launched by South Africa-born billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX in Florida in the United States.

The launch comes three years since the launch of ZACube 2, which is the technology demonstrator for the MDASat-1.

Welcoming the event, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande says the funding and support of South Africa’s satellite construction industry were reaping rewards.

He says the launch will further cement South Africa’s position as an African leader in small satellite development. The satellites will be used for surveillance of oceans and environmental projects.

Dr Mmboneni Muofhe, Deputy Director-General of Technology, Innovation at the Department of Science and Technology shares more:

The full MDASat constellation will be of nine cube satellites that will detect, identify and monitor vessels in near real-time in support of South African maritime awareness.

Botswana’s president ends isolation after asymptomatic COVID-19
12 January 2022, 10:14 AM

Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi has left isolation just over a week after testing positive for COVID-19 without symptoms, the government said on Wednesday.

“His medical team has assessed his health status and subsequently cleared him because he continues to have no COVID-19 associated symptoms,” government spokesman John-Thomas Dipowe said.

New coronavirus infections have risen in the southern African country since the detection of the Omicron variant late last year, from fewer than 300 every three days before Omicron to an average of more than 2 500.

But health officials say there has not been a feared surge in hospitalisations, which may be partly due to the fact that Botswana has fully vaccinated nearly three-quarters of its eligible population of around 1.3 million people.

Masisi’s positive test was announced on January 3.

Germany’s COVID-19 cases hit daily record of more than 80 000
12 January 2022, 8:57 AM

Germany reported 80 430 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, the highest recorded in a single day since the pandemic began, as the contagious Omicron variant rips through a population with lower vaccination rates than some other parts of Europe.

The previous daily record, on November 26 last year, was more than 76 000.

Germany’s tally of infections now stands at 7 661 811. The death toll also rose by 384 on Wednesday to reach 114 735.

Just under 75% of the population has had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the latest figures from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious disease show.

The seven-day incidence rate, a key yardstick in deciding coronavirus policy, has ticked up steadily since the start of the year, to stand at 407.5 cases per 100 000 people on Wednesday, versus 387.9 the day before.

Melbourne residents question whether Djokovic should play
12 January 2022, 7:47 AM

Australians on Wednesday questioned the facts behind tennis star Novak Djokovic’s COVID-19 status and said the handling of the situation was “a bit of a mess”.

Djokovic released a long statement on Wednesday, with details on why he was not in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 in December and saying his agent made a mistake in filling out his Australian travel declaration.

He said his agent ticked the wrong box on the form which states whether he had travelled within 14 days of coming to Australia.

“That’s the whole point isn’t it, he shouldn’t have been given a visa until we knew exactly what his status was and what he’d been doing, but equally once he’s here, it wasn’t really very polite to just lock him up,” said Melbourne resident, Meredith.

Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke was considering whether to cancel the world no.1 tennis player’s visa ahead of the Australian Open, which starts on January 17, amid controversy over whether he was eligible for a medical exemption from the country’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

SA records 4 482 new COVID-19 cases, 82 related deaths
9 January 2022, 7:32 PM

Four thousand four hundred and eighty-two new COVID-19 cases have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed infections to 3 526 054.

This increase represents a 17.6% positivity rate. As per the National Department of Health, a further 82 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 92 453 to date. 

Latest SA stats:

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Slight surge in cases

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) earlier last week said that South Africa will experience a slight surge in COVID-19 infections in the coming weeks as the festive season draws to an end.

After a significant drop over the festive season, it appears as if the number of new COVID-19 cases is rising again.

SAMA Chairperson Dr Angelique Coetzee says they also expect the reopening of schools to contribute to the rise in infections in the next few weeks.

Coetzee says, “I think we will see a slight surge, not a very big one, especially in a week or two after the schools start, then I think it will come down again.”

“A lot of people has been infected with Omicron without them even knowing and people who I have seen in my own surgery that they don’t tend to go and test that easily anymore, they just accept that it may be COVID-19 positive and I’m getting better and I’m not going to get tested. We just need to see what the next week or two is going to bring into the numbers game,” adds Coetzee.

 

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