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Lower number of COVID-19 cases can be attributed to fewer tests: NICD
28 July 2021, 6:25 AM

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says the relatively low number of reported new COVID-19 cases must be seen in the context of the lower number of tests being conducted, close to 37 000 in the latest reporting period.

South Africa has recorded 7 733 new cases of the coronavirus, pushing the total number of infections to 2 391 223.

The test positivity rate has declined to 21.2%, which is still four times higher than when the spread of the virus is considered to be under control.

Another 370 people have died from COVID 19-related complications in South Africa in the latest 24-hour reporting period taking the death toll to 70 388.

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Meanwhile, management of an affluent residential estate north of Johannesburg has admitted that it erred in asking tenants of a barracks housing its employees to vacate the premises if they did not get vaccinated.

Property developer Bondev which developed Midstream Estates – where the barracks is located has since withdrawn the circular. The tenants of the barracks, who are security guards who work at the estate, say they felt they were being victimised.

The South African Human Rights Commission has threatened to take the matter to court. The commission’s Buang Jones says they welcome the withdrawal of the circular.

“We were further concerned that the right could potentially be trampled upon if the commission didn’t intervene. We had already made a determination that this was a potentially litigious matter which we would have wanted to take to court as a test case.  But we are heartened by the posture that has been taken by the property management company. They have admitted that they could have handled the situation differently.”

Management of an affluent estate admits to trying to force security personnel to vaccinate:

Court
Case regarding suspected fraud in former President Mandela’s funeral resumes today
28 July 2021, 5:44 AM

The case of former Eastern Cape Health MEC, Sindiswa Gomba, NCOP member Zukiswa Ncita, ANC regional chair Phumlani Mkolo, former Buffalo City speaker Luleka Simon Ndzele, and 11 other co-accused will be back in the East London Magistrate’s Court today.

Their case was postponed for finalisation of the indictment. The accused are facing charges related to suspected fraud involving ten-million-rand, linked to the memorial and funeral of former president Nelson Mandela in 2013.

During their last court appearance in May, the accused expressed disappointment in the justice system for the delays in this case. Gomba said they are ready for the trial.

“You can’t get to a court for 7 years and you still want to believe that’s not frustrating. Now that we are back the first thing that we were informed is that everything is complete and we thought that immediately we are going to get on a stage and argue the case.”

Meanwhile, the Justice Department dismissed these allegations saying the delays were caused by changes of legal representation by the accused.

Book prices
3 African writers listed for Booker prizes
27 July 2021, 12:52 PM

Three African writers have been listed for this year’s Booker Prize. South Africa’s Damon Galgut and Karen Jennings along with Somali/British Nadifa Mohamed are among 13 writers in the list.

Damon’s nomination is for his book The Promise that features South Africa’s history, apartheid and peace and reconciliation. Karen’s book An Island that tells the story of friendship is in this year’s long list.

Nadifa features for her book The Fortune Men and she tweeted about being delighted for being listed.

Vaccine
Supply issues delays Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shipments, says South Korea
27 July 2021, 11:28 AM

Moderna has pushed back its late-July vaccine shipment schedule for South Korea to August due to supply problems that will affect other countries waiting on its shots, South Korean health officials said on Tuesday.

The shipment delay comes as the government is expanding its inoculation campaign to people in their 50s and workers in its vital computer chip and electronic sector. The disruption has forced authorities to switch to the Pfizer vaccine for some vaccinations.

The supply issue is linked to the vaccine manufacturing process involving Swiss contract drug maker Lonza and a Spain-based company that does bottling work for the Moderna vaccine, said Jung Eun-young, head of the vaccine procurement team.

“This means the production-related issue does not only affect South Korea. Rather it is a common problem for countries that receive the volume from the manufacturing site,” Jung said during a news conference.

She did not name the Spanish firm, but contract drug-maker Rovi bottles, or “fills and finishes,” Moderna vaccines for markets other than the United States.

Lonza said questions concerning the COVID-19 vaccine should be directed to Moderna, which did not immediately reply to Reuters’ requests for comment. Rovi was not immediately available for comment.

South Korea has a contract for 40 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, of which about 1.1 million have already arrived.

It is currently battling a fourth wave of infections linked to the spread of the more contagious Delta variant and public complacency that has seen daily cases breach the 1 000 mark for the first time since December.

Authorities reported 1 365 new coronavirus cases for Monday.

It was not immediately clear which other countries will be impacted by the disruption of Moderna supplies nor how severe the production issue was.

South Korean officials said the Moderna vaccines scheduled to arrive in August remained on schedule, adding that a detailed shipment plan would be made public once finalised.

Slightly more than 34% of South Korea’s population of 52million has received at least one vaccine dose while 13.5% are fully vaccinated.

Mango airline
Putting Mango Airlines under business rescue is the best solution: SA Cabin Crew Association
27 July 2021, 9:24 AM

The President of the South African Cabin Crew Association, Zazi Nsibanyoni-Mugambi, says the decision to file an urgent application with the High Court in Johannesburg to place Mango Airlines under business rescue is the best solution for the airlines and its employees.

The workers have not been paid consistent salaries for months, with some having gone half a year without pay.

Mango Airline employees have given the Public Enterprises Department and the company’s management until 10am on Tuesday to act on their grievances or they will approach the courts.

Nsibanyoni-Mugambi says the South African Cabin Crew Association, the Mango Pilots Association (MPA) and the National Union of Metalworkers had to file an urgent application to place the airline under business rescue, because the situation is very dire at the airline.

He says, “For these three unions it was a decision not taken lightly and easily but we understood the situation that Mango was under. It was not capitalised at a time and you’re back in the SAA business rescue process. We had asked why they were not placed under business rescue because we believe they should have. So Mango is struggling financially and the R819-million that was gazetted is still not in Mango’s account. We believe it will give the airline a little bit of reprieve and restructure and take to the skies with a solid plan.”

Workers want Mango Airlines to be placed under business rescue:

 

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