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Infectious Diseases

Updated 09 August 2020

Coronavirus morning update: Govt urged to rethink booze ban, pandemic end 'at least a year away'

Liquor traders have called on government to strike a balance between saving lives and saving livelihoods; and Bill Gates thinks the pandemic won't be over for at least a year.

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN SA

Cases update: 

The latest number of confirmed cases is 553 188.

According to the latest update, 301 new deaths have been recorded in the country.

There have been 404 568 recoveries.

So far, a total of 3 220 265 tests have been conducted, with 36 607 new tests reported.

READ MORE | All the confirmed cases of coronavirus in SA

Latest news:

South African liquor traders have called on government to strike a balance between saving lives and saving livelihoods.

A number of liquor traders met in Soweto on Friday where they decided that government must consider their financial needs when shutting down their businesses.

On 12 July, President Cyril Ramaphosa banned the sale of alcohol in the country with immediate effect. Traders complained that government didn’t give them enough time to prepare for the ban as some had just taken loans to purchase new stock to kickstart their businesses after the first sales ban.

The founder of Busy Corner sishanyama and liquor outlet, Rita Zwane, who is also the author of Conquering The Poverty Of The Mind, called on all women traders to march to the Union Building to raise their concerns to Ramaphosa.

"We are feeling the impact of Covid-19 since our businesses have been closed for five months. I get a feeling that our government knew that the lockdown was going to take a long time, not 21 days. "They should have informed us in advance and we would have planned better. We would have had an opportunity to plan better, arrange payments to our staff and suppliers," Zwane said.

READ MORE | Liquor ban: Govt again urged to consider balancing and saving lives and livelihood

Opposition parties reacted with cynicism to President Cyril Ramaphosa's appointment of a six-member Cabinet committee to deal with all allegations of corruption related to Covid-19 procurement.

Cabinet on Wednesday approved the establishment of this team. DA interim leader John Steenhuisen described the committee as "window dressing to create the illusion of action".

"This toothless gathering of ANC cadres has no real capacity to investigate and prosecute those involved. But more importantly, it has no motivation to do so either," he said in a statement.

READ MORE | Opposition sceptical about Cabinet committee to investigate Covid-19 contracts

Nelson Mandela University's health sciences executive dean and chairperson of the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), Professor Lungile Pepeta, has died of Covid-19.

He was on a ventilator at the Life St George's Hospital and died on Friday, according to Netwerk24.

Pepeta was a renowned paediatric cardiologist and, more recently, had helped spearhead the response to Covid-19.

He had been at the helm of the CMS since June 2020 following the death of former chairperson Dr Clarence Mini who also succumbed to the virus.

READ MORE | CMS chairperson Professor Lungile Pepeta dies of Covid-19

Founder and president emeritus of the IFP Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has tested positive for Covid-19, his family said on Saturday.

In a statement, the family added he tested positive earlier in the week after being told he had been in contact with someone who was infected. Buthelezi, who showed no symptoms, turns 92 later this month.

"As required, he is now self-isolating at home for the mandatory period. At this point, we are pleased to say that he remains asymptomatic and is in good spirits.

As a family, we have put in place a capable team to keep watch over the situation." 

READ MORE | IFP president emeritus Mangosuthu Buthelezi tests positive for Covid-19

At least 12 345 Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDs) have, to date, completed the Department of Social Development's online self-assessment to operate under Level 3 lockdown, its spokesperson, Lumka Oliphant, has said.

This week, Oliphant told News24 centres, which were compliant and safe, were able to reopen as per a High Court ruling in July.

"ECDs were able to open immediately provided that they are complying with what we have put out for them. There are about 12 345 ECDs that have completed the self-assessment form." 

She added once they had completed the assessment and been given the green light "they can open immediately".

READ MORE | Over 12 000 early childhood development centres have applied to reopen

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE REST OF THE WORLD 

Cases update:

For the latest global data, follow this interactive map from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.

Late on Saturday night, positive cases worldwide were more than 19.45 million, while deaths were close to 723 000.

The United States had the most cases in the world - more than 4.97 million, as well as the most deaths - close to162 000.

READ MORE | All the confirmed cases worldwide

Latest news:

Bill Gates is feeling optimistic that, with all the work being done to develop Covid-19 treatments and vaccines, there is an end to the pandemic in sight.

Unfortunately, that end is still at least a year away, he told Wired's Steven Levy.

"The innovation pipeline on scaling up diagnostics, on new therapeutics, on vaccines is actually quite impressive. And that makes me feel like, for the rich world, we should largely be able to end this thing by the end of 2021, and for the world at large by the end of 2022," Gates said.

Gates says that he fears that in nations like Russia and China, the pressure to have a vaccine is so high that regulators may be allowing shots to be given to humans before the vaccines are known to be safe and effective.

READ MORE | Bill Gates thinks the Covid-19 pandemic won’t be over until end of 2021, even in the richest countries

LATEST RESEARCH

The Covid-19 pandemic has been extraordinarily stressful for millions of people around the world – and in the midst of all the fear and uncertainty, we’re seeing a historic rise in mental health conditions. 

A new study, published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, found that more than half of Covid-19 survivors who received hospital treatment were experiencing symptoms of at least one of the following mental disorders a month post-discharge: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, insomnia, depression or compulsive symptom.

The team of experts from San Raffaele hospital in Milan carried out the study by monitoring 402 patients after being treated for Covid-19. This was done via clinical interviews and self-assessment questionnaires.

Results indicate that 55% of these patients were found to have at least one psychiatric disorder.

READ MORE | Covid-19 survivors who were treated in hospital show higher rate of psychiatric disorders

HEALTH TIPS (as recommended by the NICD and WHO)

• Maintain physical distancing – stay at least one metre away from somebody who is coughing or sneezing

• Practise frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as your hands touch many surfaces and could potentially transfer the virus

• Practise respiratory hygiene – cover your mouth with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Remember to dispose the tissue immediately after use.

Image credit: Getty Images