NATIONAL NEWS - As of Wednesday, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases is 1 553 609, with 756 new cases recorded since the last report, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced.
79 more Covid-19 deaths were reported: 1 from Eastern Cape, 18 Free State, 25 from Gauteng, 25 from KwaZulu-Natal, 6 from Mpumalanga and 4 from Western Cape.
This brings the total number of deaths to 53 111.
“We convey our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the healthcare workers who treated the deceased,” said Mkhize.
The total number of recoveries is 1 479 821, representing a recovery rate of 95%.
The number of healthcare workers vaccinated under the Sisonke Protocol is 278 909.
Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
AstraZeneca jab link to blood clots
The EU’s medicines regulator says that blood clots should be listed as a rare side effect of the AstraZeneca jab but the benefits continue to outweigh risks.
WHO experts say a causal relationship between the vaccine and blood clots is “plausible but is not confirmed”.
Italy and Belgium react by suspending the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine on younger people. The UK says it will use other vaccines on those under 30 whenever possible.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home region Gujarat is forced to tighten curbs as infections in India rocket to a record of almost 116,000 new cases in 24 hours.
The new wave is being blamed on people attending huge religious and political events as well as weddings and cricket matches.
Nearly 700 million vaccines jabs worldwide
More than 694 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered globally, according to an AFP tally, with just a handful of countries leading the pack by a wide margin.
Though vaccinations have begun in at least 195 territories around the world, richer nations have made much more progress than the rest, with the lowest-income countries accounting for just 0.1 percent of the doses administered.
G20 agrees to help poorest nations
G20 finance ministers and central bankers agree to extend a moratorium on debt interest payments for the poorest countries, which could lag behind the global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
In an online meeting, the Group of 20 most powerful nations also backed the International Monetary Fund’s plan to boost its reserve offerings to help impoverished nations, and pledged to reach a deal on global tax reform by the middle of the year.
Mental, neurological problems
One in three people who overcome Covid-19 suffer from a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis six months on, according to the largest study so far published on the mental toll that long-Covid takes on survivors.
Authors say the research, printed in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, proves that Covid-19 patients are significantly more likely to develop brain conditions than those suffering from other respiratory tract infections.
Merkel calls for lockdown
German Chancellor Angela Merkel calls for a short national lockdown to stem rising case numbers putting her on a collision course with some states who control health policy.
Aussies blame EU
Australia’s prime minister blames EU vaccine export controls for halting its inoculation drive, as he faces growing public frustration over the sluggish rollout.
Taiwan accuses China of trying to tempt Paraguay to drop its recognition of the island nation in exchange for vaccines.
Paraguay is one of only 15 countries that officially recognise Taipei over Beijing, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory.
2.8 million dead
At least 2,874,984 people have died of Covid-19 around the world since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally from official sources.
The US is the worst-affected country with 556,528 deaths, followed by Brazil with 336,947, Mexico with 205,002, India with 166,177 and Britain with 126,882.