CORONAVIRUS: Your daily update

20 October 2021, 7:27 PM
South Africa has recorded 453 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2 917 255. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has also reported a further 50 COVID-19 related deaths, bringing total fatalities to 88 674 to date.
US COVID-19 vaccine rates up thanks to mandates; cases and deaths down: officials 14 October 2021, 1:27 PM

Vaccination rates against COVID-19 in the United States have risen by more than 20 percentage points after multiple institutions adopted vaccine requirements, while case numbers and deaths from the virus are down, Biden administration officials said on Wednesday.

J&J COVID-19 shot gets better boost from Moderna or Pfizer in NIH study 14 October 2021, 2:54 AM

People who got Johnson & Johnson Inc's COVID-19 vaccine as a first shot had a stronger immune response when boosted with vaccines from Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE or Moderna Inc, a study run by the National Institutes of Health showed on Wednesday.

Mental healthcare access in South Africa very limited: WHO 13 October 2021, 6:52 PM

Statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicate access to mental healthcare facilities in South Africa is limited to four beds per 100 000 people in general hospitals and 16 beds per 100 000 in mental health hospitals.

Blue Origin poised to transport ‘Star Trek’ actor Shatner into space 13 October 2021, 5:24 PM

Billionaire U.S. businessman Jeff Bezos's company Blue Origin is set for its second suborbital tourism flight on Wednesday, with actor William Shatner - who embodied the promise of space travel on the "Star Trek" TV series and films - among the four-person all-civilian crew poised to blast off in Texas.

Groote Schuur Hospital launches first robotic-assisted surgery in Africa 13 October 2021, 3:03 PM

The Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town is set to become the first hospital in Africa to perform robotic-assisted surgery following the launch of the state-of-the-art Da Vinci X-I surgical robot.

800 000 people have downloaded vaccination certificates: Health Department 13 October 2021, 12:05 PM

The National Department of Health says more than 800 000 people have already downloaded their vaccination certificates.

Where is South Africa’s digital migration? 13 October 2021, 11:30 AM

We look at the road to the South African governments journey to implementing the Digital Migration first introduced in 2006.

‘Too early to make COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for higher education’ 13 October 2021, 11:30 AM

Higher Health SA says it is still too early to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for the higher education sector. This comes after the proposal to make vaccination mandatory for university students and staff.

Data suggests mRNA booster dose generates stronger antibody response after J&J shot: Axios 13 October 2021, 7:22 AM

People who received Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine will have a stronger neutralizing antibody response if they get an mRNA shot as the second dose, Axios reported on Tuesday, citing a person who has seen data collected by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Russia to test COVID-19 vaccine in form of nasal spray 13 October 2021, 1:55 AM

Russia will test a nasal spray form of its Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 among adult volunteers, according to a state document published on Tuesday, as the country struggles to rein in rising numbers of infections and deaths.

Aspirin use to prevent first heart attacks not recommended for most older adults – US panel 13 October 2021, 1:48 AM

People aged 60 or older who are at risk of heart disease should not start a daily low-dose aspirin regimen to prevent a first heart attack because the risk of internal bleeding outweighs its benefits, a US expert panel recommended on Tuesday.

WHO says it awaits full data from Merck on antiviral pill 12 October 2021, 6:02 PM

 The World Health Organization is awaiting full clinical data on the antiviral pill made by Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients, a WHO spokesperson said on Tuesday, a day after the company said it had applied for US emergency use authorisation.

At least 50% of South Africans could be living with arthritis: Experts 12 October 2021, 10:23 AM

On World Arthritis Day on Tuesday, experts are trying to break the myth that the joint inflammation and autoimmune condition only affects older people.

It’s down to world leaders to honour climate pledges, says UK COP26 chief 12 October 2021, 1:24 AM

The G20 group of leading economies must come forward with more ambitious 2030 climate action plans, Britain's Alok Sharma, president of the upcoming United Nations COP26 climate change conference, will say on Tuesday.

Instagram testing feature to notify users of outage or issue inside app 12 October 2021, 12:56 AM

Facebook Inc's Instagram said on Monday it is testing a feature to notify users of outages or technical issues directly on the photo-sharing app, days after two outages disrupted the social media giant's services.

AstraZeneca drug cocktail succeeds in late-stage study to treat COVID-19 11 October 2021, 12:01 PM

AstraZeneca's experimental COVID-19 antibody drug cocktail succeeded in reducing severe disease or death in non-hospitalised patients in a late-stage study, the British drugmaker said on Monday.

Several online services reactivated following ransomware attack: Justice Department 11 October 2021, 8:23 AM

The Justice Department has confirmed that several online services have been reactivated in a safe and secure manner after the ransomware attack last month.

Estimated 400 million people suffer from mental or neurological disorders globally: Report 10 October 2021, 1:20 PM

An estimated 400-million people suffer from mental or neurological disorders globally, according to the South African Mental Health Awareness report for 2020. In an effort to break the stigma around mental health on World Mental Health Day, advocacy group Cape Mental Health is calling on South Africans to fly their kites on Sunday.

The eThekwini Municipality records alarming rate of new HIV infections among girls, young women 9 October 2021, 1:51 PM

The eThekwini Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal says there has been an alarming rate of new HIV infections among girls and young women between 13 and 19-years old.

Anxiety surged during pandemic, particularly among women – Study 9 October 2021, 4:49 AM

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in anxiety and major depressive disorders across the world, particularly among women and young people, a study published in the Lancet on Friday found.

Facebook apologises for second outage in a week, services back up 9 October 2021, 12:58 AM

Facebook Inc apologised to users for a two hour disruption to its services on Friday and blamed another faulty configuration change for its second global outage this week.

White House weighs broader oversight of cryptocurrency market 8 October 2021, 11:42 PM

The White House is considering a wide ranging oversight of the cryptocurrency market to combat the growing threat of ransomware and other cyber crime, a spokesperson said on Friday.

Facebook Messenger, Instagram facing issues for second time in a week 8 October 2021, 10:49 PM

Facebook Inc confirmed on Friday that some users were having trouble accessing its apps and services, days after the social media giant suffered a six-hour outage triggered by an error during routine maintenance on its network of data centers.

More than 200 000 vaccines administered in last 24 hours, 924 new COVID-19 cases reported 8 October 2021, 8:15 PM

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says 132 people have died from COVID 19 in the latest 24 hour reporting period, taking the death toll to 88 236.

Mabuza highlights need for SA to speed up coronavirus vaccination in order to reach target 8 October 2021, 6:24 PM

Deputy President David Mabuza says the country needs to speed up COVID-19  vaccinations in order to reach the target of  70%  of the adult population by December.

SA Weather Service issues warning for heavy rain, hail, lightning over parts of KwaZulu-Natal 8 October 2021, 3:26 PM

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has issued a warning for heavy rain, hail, lightning, strong winds over part of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and the western parts of the province, as well as the Durban metro.  

Government pleased by removal of SA from UK’s red list: Phaahla 8 October 2021, 12:20 PM

Health Minister, Joe Phaahla says government is pleased with the removal of South Africa from the United Kingdom's red list which requires travellers to do a mandatory 10-day quarantine in a hotel on arrival, at their own costs.

Third wave of COVID-19 has been the longest compared to previous ones: Phaahla 8 October 2021, 10:00 AM

Health Minister Joe Phaahla says the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic has been the longest than the previous waves in the country.

LIVE: Virtual briefing on COVID-19 and vaccination rollout plans 8 October 2021, 7:01 AM

The Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla, together with the Deputy Minister of Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and panel of experts, convene a media briefing on government efforts in the fight against COVID-19 and the national vaccination rollout programme.

Google plans to invest in Africa to allow for faster, affordable internet 8 October 2021, 2:47 AM

Google plans to invest $1 billion in Africa over the next five years to ensure access to fast and cheaper internet and will back startups to support the continent's digital transformation.