NATIONAL NEWS - South Africa currently has 16,909 patients in hospital beds stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases’ (NICD) Daily Hospital Surveillance report for Sunday, 17 January 2021, of the patients admitted, 2,376 are currently in ICU and 1,209 are currently being ventilated.
Since the start of the pandemic on local soil, hospitals have admitted 174,373 patients of which 121,451 were discharged.
Gauteng and the Western Cape accounted for nearly half of all admissions. Currently the two provinces have 5,058 and 3,512 patients in hospital respectively. KwaZulu-Natal has 4,084 patients in beds.
Another 254 deaths were also reported, bringing the national, official death toll to 37,105.
The Eastern Cape accounted for 22 deaths, the Free State 13, Gauteng 59, KwaZulu-Natal 40, Mpumalanga 16, North West 26, Northern Cape 16, and the Western Cape 71.
The current recovery rate from the coronavirus stands at 82,1% and in total, 1,337,926 cases have been identified.
Here are the latest global developments in the coronavirus crisis:
– India begins massive vaccination drive –
India, home to 1.3 billion people, kicks off one of the world’s biggest coronavirus vaccination drives.
In a country whose virus caseload is the second highest in the world, the government has given approvals to two vaccines — though one is yet to complete clinical trials — aiming to inoculate around 300 million people, equivalent to the US population, by July.
– Pfizer, BioNTech to limit vaccine delays –
Pfizer and BioNTech say they will limit the delays of their vaccine deliveries to just one week, after fears in Europe that shipments of the jabs could be slowed for up to a month.
The US drugmaker and its German partner “have developed a plan that will allow the scale-up of manufacturing capacities in Europe and deliver significantly more doses in the second quarter,” they say in a joint statement.
“As a result, our facility in Puurs, Belgium will experience a temporary reduction in the number of doses delivered in the upcoming week.”
– Thousands of anti-maskers rally in Vienna –
Around 10,000 people rally in the Austrian capital to protest coronavirus restrictions, Austrian police say, as the government is scheduled to announce new measures on Sunday.
Brandishing banners proclaiming: “You’re the disease. We’re the cure” and waving Austrian flags, most of the demonstrators refuse to wear masks or respect social distancing rules.
– France gets 6:00 pm curfew –
A nationwide 6:00 pm curfew comes into force in France, in a fresh turn of the screw for hard-hit shopkeepers and other small businesses.
Prime Minister Jean Castex says 390,000 people have now been vaccinated with a million more scheduled, following criticism of the slow rollout.
– Spain rules out new lockdown, for now –
Spain’s government says it will not impose a new lockdown to combat the third wave of virus infections, but will allow regions to extend curfews.
Over the past month, the case incidence rate has more than doubled to 523 cases per 100,000 residents, with the health ministry blaming Christmas festivities.
– More than two million dead –
The novel coronavirus has killed more than 2,010,000 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.
The United States is the worst-affected country with 392,139 deaths, followed by Brazil with 208,246 deaths, India with 152,093 fatalities, Mexico with 139,022 and Britain with 88,590.
– Guinea president, 82, vaccinated –
The 82-year-old president of Guinea, Alpha Conde, receives his first dose of vaccine, part of a scheme mainly involving government members, a source close to his office says.
Guinea has received 60 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V and authorities intend to inoculate a small number of elderly volunteers first before deciding whether to extend the programme.
– Serbia receives Chinese-made vaccine –
Serbia becomes one of the first European countries to receive a Chinese-made Covid-19 vaccine when one million doses of a jab produced by Sinopharm arrives at Belgrade airport.
After Pfizer-BioNTech and Russia’s Sputnik V, Sinopharm’s is the third coronavirus vaccine to be used by the Balkan nation.
Once it gets a final approval by Serbia’s medicines agency, vaccination could start on Sunday or Monday, say health officials.
– Sea, air links suspended with Mayotte –
A case of the South African variant is detected in the French overseas territory of Mayotte, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, prompting authorities to suspend international sea and air links for 15 days from Sunday.
Article: Caxton publication, The Citizen