South Africa

COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | J&J Covid-19 vaccine to be distributed across SA from Wednesday: Ramaphosa

COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | J&J Covid-19 vaccine to be distributed across SA from Wednesday: Ramaphosa

February 17 2021 - 12:00

UK calls for conflict zone ceasefires to roll out vaccines

Britain will on Wednesday call for a United Nations resolution to help negotiate ceasefires so that people in conflict zones can be vaccinated against Covid-19, saying member states have a moral duty to protect the vulnerable.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will chair a virtual meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday to discuss the threat facing the more than 160 million people living in areas of instability and conflict, such as Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia.

“We have a moral duty to act, and a strategic necessity to come together to defeat this virus,” Raab said in a statement.

UK calls for conflict zone ceasefires to roll out vaccines

February 17 2021 - 11:16

J&J Covid-19 vaccine to be distributed across SA from Wednesday: Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed the arrival of the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine and said the doses were being prepared to be distributed across South Africa.

"As this batch has already been approved by the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) under the Sisonke protocol, these vaccines will be rapidly dispatched to all provinces.

"It is expected that most vaccination centres will be ready from today, 17 February 2021, to begin the vaccination programme," he said.

BREAKING | President Cyril Ramaphosa among first to get Covid-19...

February 17 2021 - 10:46

Hunger increases in South Africa despite Covid-19 welfare payments

Eighteen percent of South African households reported someone going hungry at the end of last year, a survey published on Wednesday found, with the situation worsening despite welfare payments to fight the impact of COVID-19.

The hunger rate compares to 14% recorded in an official survey in 2018, showing the impact of the pandemic, researchers wrote in findings of the National Income Dynamics Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM), which followed 10,000 adults.

"The reduction of social protection while rates of adult and child hunger are still at the highest they have been for a decade will have severe consequences," they wrote.

The rate of households experiencing hunger hit a high of 23% in May-June, after South Africa's first and most severe lockdown. It improved to 16% in July-Aug as lockdown eased and welfare payments arrived, but deteriorated again over the second half of the year, the survey found.

More than 70% of South Africans were found to be living in a household receiving a government grant in October. Since then, a number of COVID-19 relief payments have ended.

The survey found a strong recovery in employment in October, a significant increase in school attendance and growth in reported mask wearing.

The survey also found that local tobacco producers had increased their share of the market at the expense of multinationals following a five-month cigarette ban between late March and mid-August. Multinational firms' share of the market, more than 70% before the ban, had recovered to just over 50% at the time of the survey. 

-REUTERS

February 17 2021 - 10:21

End of the line for VW field hospital?

Hundreds of contract health-care workers could lose their jobs because the fate of the Dr Elizabeth Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni Field Hospital in Port Elizabeth - which offered a glimpse of hope in the fight against Covid-19 - is up in the air.

The contract between automotive giant Volkswagen SA (VWSA) and the Eastern Cape health department comes to an end on March 31.

This includes the contracts of 331 health-care workers hired by the government.

End of the line for VW field hospital?

February 17 2021 - 09:55

Tornadoes, historic cold across US kill seven, disrupt Covid-19 vaccinations

Killer tornadoes in the US Southeast and historic sub-zero cold as far south as Texas were blamed on Tuesday for seven deaths and massive power outages that cancelled Covid-19 inoculations and threatened to disrupt vaccine supplies.

Treacherous weather will maintain its grip on many parts of the US from Tuesday through Friday, with up to 4 inches of snow and freezing rain expected from the southern Plains into the Northeast, forecasters said.

“We're calling it Storm System No. 2, with very similar placement to the previous storm,” said meteorologist Lara Pagano of the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. She was referring to a system that blasted the nation through the long Presidents Day holiday weekend, dumping snow and ice from Ohio to the Rio Grande.

Tornadoes, historic cold across US kill seven, disrupt Covid-19...

February 17 2021 - 08:20

Rollout of Covid-19 vaccine is underway across SA

The needle of SA's first Covid-19 vaccination is expected to be inserted into the arm of a healthcare worker on Wednesday afternoon.

The first batch of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine arrived at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday night, health minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed.

The consignment was moved to a secure facility in Gauteng before being distributed overnight to vaccine centres in all provinces, government said.

Rollout of Covid-19 vaccine is underway across SA

February 17 2021 - 07:31

J&J vaccine arrives in SA 

The first batch of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine arrived at the OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday night.

Government Twitter official page said that frontline health workers would be first in line to receive the vaccine.