South Africa

New SA Covid-19 cases rise over 1 000, with 95 deaths

Cape Town – After two days in which less than 1 000 new Covid-19 cases had been identified, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize reported 1 447 new cases on Wednesday.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases in South Africa now stands at 1 516 262, with 95 further deaths (194 yesterday).

Gauteng recorded 30 fatalities, followed by the Western Cape with 25, Free State 19, KwaZulu-Natal 8, Mpumalanga 7, Eastern Cape 5 and Northern Cape 1. Limpopo and North West reported no deaths.

This bring the total number of deaths to 50 366 deaths. There have been 1 434 772 recoveries, representing a recovery rate of 94.6%.

The cumulative total of tests conducted to date is 9 147 524, with 33 498 new tests recorded since the last report.

Data supplied by the Department of Health

Angola, Congo Republic and Djibouti have approved Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against the new coronavirus for emergency use, Russia's RDIF sovereign wealth fund said on Wednesday.

The Russian vaccine has now been approved for use by a total of 42 countries, including Russia, RDIF said.

The anti-inflammatory drug hydroxychloroquine should not be used to prevent infection in people who do not have Covid-19, according to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) clinical care guidance.

This strong recommendation is based on high-certainty evidence from six randomised controlled trials involving over 6 000 participants with and without known exposure to a person with a Covid-19 infection, WHO said.

Meanwhile, one dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech's or AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine helps to prevent disease severe enough to require hospitalisation of people in their 80s with other illnesses, interim data from a UK study showed on Wednesday.

The findings, from an ongoing surveillance project funded by Pfizer and known as AvonCAP, found that one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, which began to be used in the UK on December 8 2020, was 71.4% effective from 14 days at preventing symptomatic illness severe enough to result in hospitalisation among patients with a median age of 87 years.

For the AstraZeneca vaccine, which began to be rolled out in Britain on January 4, the results showed it was 80.4% effective by the same measures among patients with an average age of 88.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued the most sweeping roll-back of coronavirus restrictions of any US state, lifting a mask mandate and saying most businesses may open at full capacity next week.

Abbott's executive order comes as many US states and major cities see a sharp decline in coronavirus infections and hospitalisations.

“It is now time to open Texas 100%," Abbott, a first-term Republican, told a news conference. He said the order would take full effect on March 10.


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