South Africa

COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | Covid-19 PCR test costs reduced

COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | Covid-19 PCR test costs reduced

December 12 2021 - 12:24

Covid-19 PCR test costs reduced after commission finds price 'abuse' by private labs

South Africans will no longer be paying exorbitant prices for Covid-19 tests after an investigation into “unfairly inflated, exorbitant and, or unjustifiable” prices charged to consumers by private laboratories.

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests will  now be reduced from R850 to R500 including VAT.

The PCR tests detect genetic material from a specific organism, such as a virus, and are now the standard proof for travel and other purposes.

Covid-19 PCR test costs reduced after commission finds price 'abuse' by private labs

December 12 2021 - 11:00

RECORDED  | The Competition Commission Media Briefing

The Competition Commission has reached a ground-breaking agreement with two major laboratories, Du Buisson Kramer Swart Bouwer Incorporated (Ampath), Drs Mauff AC & Partners t/a Lancet Laboratories (Lancet Laboratories), on the substantial reduction of Covid-19 PCR test prices.

December 12 2021 - 10:46

Nedlac quick off the mark to mobilise society in the face of Covid

Social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) had an eventful and busy year in achieving their goals towards facilitating social dialogue and putting in place measures to curb Covid-19, inputting into policy and legislative process, and setting up processes to track the implementation of commitments made by all social partners in the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP). 

A Covid-19 Nedlac rapid response task team has worked to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and the lockdown to enable the economy to reopen safely. The devastation of the pandemic would have been more severe had it not been for their efforts regarding relief, promotion of vaccinations and collaborating on regulations to safely open the economy.

Nedlac quick off the mark to mobilise society in the face of Covid

December 12 2021 - 08:56

Booster shots up to 75% effective against Omicron, UK says

Covid-19 booster shots significantly restore protection against mild disease caused by the Omicron variant, in part reversing an otherwise steep drop in vaccine effectiveness, the UK Health Security Agency said

December 12 2021 - 07:36

Covid-19 dumps a tsunami of pets on shelters’ doorsteps

Many pets across SA face an unwanted Christmas this year season as Covid eats away at their owners’ livelihoods. 

Allan Perrins of the Animal Welfare Society of SA said the organisation is swamped with unwanted pets, mainly cats and kittens, but also dogs, rats, rabbits — even seagulls.

“We cannot think of a better way to describe [it] ... than by referring to it as a tsunami,” Perrins said.

A shelter in Philippi, Cape Town, had just taken in three adult cats and 16 kittens from someone who could not afford to feed them when Sunday Times spoke to Perrins this week.

Covid-19 dumps a tsunami of pets on shelters’ doorsteps

December 12 2021 - 07:00

Pandemic or endemic? For now it's academic, say Covid-19 experts

Social media is buzzing with the theory that the Omicron variant of Covid is a positive development if it spreads like wildfire but does not cause severe disease, similar to flu and the common cold.

The disease would then be endemic, meaning it isn’t eradicated but circulates at a manageable level.

But experts say it is too early to make this call because we do not yet have enough data and other variants could be in the pipeline.

Wolfgang Preiser, a professor of virology at Stellenbosch University, said endemicity is when “the virus changes, and becomes less virulent [responsible for severe disease] but remains highly transmissible, or even more so”.

Pandemic or endemic? For now it's academic, say Covid-19 experts

December 12 2021 - 06:40

Doctors waiting to exhale as Omicron symptoms remain mild

South Africans should have a clear idea by next week if the milder symptoms associated with the Omicron variant are a consistent pattern and if Covid hospital admissions will remain lower than in previous waves, say Gauteng clinicians and hospital executives. The early signals so far are encouraging.

Wits University professor of medicine Francois Venter said: “Every passing day makes it more reassuring that this wave is milder than wave 3 [driven by] Delta and by next week we may be able to exhale.”

Unlike previous waves, only a small proportion of the people infected by the virus in the fourth wave have been admitted to hospitals, data shows.

South African Medical Association chair Dr Angelique Coetzee said: “This wave is not the same as Delta, which was terrible. At this stage the cases are very mild.”

Doctors waiting to exhale as Omicron symptoms remain mild

December 12 2021 - 06:20

Police prioritise probe into threats to leading Covid-19 researchers

Police have prioritised an investigation into threats against leading Covid-19 researchers and scientists, some of whom advise the National Coronavirus Command Council.

Among those targeted are South African Medical Research Council head professor Glenda Gray and professor Tulio de Oliveira, Stellenbosch University researcher and head of the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (Krisp).

De Oliveira and his team recently came under fire from some members of the public after identifying the Omicron variant, which led to several countries shutting their borders to SA.

Police prioritise probe into threats to leading Covid-19 researchers

December 12 2021 - 06:00

Omicron travel bans were moment of truth for angry Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the travel ban imposed on SA after the detection of the Omicron variant made him realise that the “paternalistic” developed world was not sincere in its pledge to help African countries overcome the Covid pandemic.

On the last leg of his tour, an irate Ramaphosa spoke out against developed countries that closed their borders when South African scientists identified the new variant.

The reaction of such countries as the US, the European Union and the UK — which put SA back on its travel red list — opened his eyes to the reality of the West’s approach, the president said.

“For me — the Omicron issue — that is when the penny dropped. I realised that much as they say that they are our partners, they are really playing a different game to us, and in the end do not have a disposition that demonstrates that the partnership is mutually beneficial,” Ramaphosa said in an interview in Senegal this week.

Omicron travel bans were moment of truth for angry Ramaphosa