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Infectious Diseases

22 June 2020

Coronavirus morning update: SA nearing 100 000 cases

Your latest coronavirus news: South Africa is nearing the 100 000 case mark in the Covid-19 pandemic, after 4 621 new cases were reported.

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN SA

Cases update: 

The latest number of confirmed cases is 97 302.

According to the latest update, 1 930 deaths have been recorded in the country.

There have been 52 608 recoveries.

So far, more than 1.32 million tests have been conducted, with 34 452 new tests.

READ MORE | All the confirmed cases of coronavirus in SA

Latest news:

South Africa is nearing the 100 000 case mark in the Covid-19 pandemic, since the first positive case on 5 March.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced on Sunday evening that 97 302 cases had now been logged - a full 4 621 of them in the past 24 hours.

In the same time period, 53 more Covid-19-related deaths have been recorded. If current trends continue, South Africa is set to record its 2 000th death by, Monday, 22 June, or by Tuesday 23 June.

Mkhize's office announced the Western Cape still led with the number of Covid-19 cases - with just over half the national total - 52.9%. Gauteng followed, with 21.4%, and the Eastern Cape, with 16.2%.

The remaining six provinces recorded single digits.

READ MORE | South Africa nearing 100 000 Covid-19 cases

Liquor stores around the country are battling to keep up with the demand for stock of South Africans’ favourite tipple since the ban on the sale of alcohol was lifted on June 1.

One of the big favourites, especially during the winter months, is Sedgwicks Old Brown Sherry. Bottle stores nationwide are experiencing a shortage of the brand, which has been in circulation for more than 100 years.

Distell, the manufacturer of Old Brown Sherry, is experiencing intermittent shortages, largely as a result of the unprecedented demand for alcohol.

“We had a healthy amount of stock, but the demand completely exceeded our forecasts,” said Dennis Matsane, spokesperson for Distell.

“In addition, we had to make a considerable adjustment to our production process to comply with all health and safety regulations [amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic].”

READ MORE | Booze stocks wane due to stockpiling

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) will be reopening its doors over the coming weeks, but says it will do so cautiously because of the steady rise in Covid-19 infections countrywide.

"[The] UKZN leadership has been carefully planning for the event. The logistics and planning for the return of the students and staff are complex and has to be undertaken both carefully and systematically, especially in light of the rapidly increasing confirmed daily cases of Covid-19 nationally over the last two weeks," university spokesperson Normah Zondo said.

The announcement comes after Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande announced the return of a maximum of one-third of the student population.

"We do not want to jeopardise the health and safety of our students and staff, and therefore a carefully mitigated approach that minimises risk was sought," she said.

READ MORE | We're reopening, but cautiously, says UKZN as Covid-19 infections continue to rise

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 Sunday night, positive cases worldwide were close to 8.9 million, while deaths were close to 466 000.

The United States had the most cases in the world - 2.27 million, as well as the most deaths - almost 120 000.

READ MORE | All the confirmed cases worldwide

Latest news:

Passengers wearing masks and wheeling suitcases arrived at Madrid's main airport and French people crossed the border to buy bargain alcohol and tobacco on Sunday as Spain opened its borders to most European countries and ended a state of emergency imposed to contain Covid-19.

Spain's borders are now open to all European Union countries except Portugal, as well as Schengen Area members outside the bloc and the United Kingdom in a much-needed boost to the country's tourism industry which accounts for more than 12 percent of the economy.

British tourists will be allowed in without having to quarantine, Spain said on Saturday, even though they will still be subject to 14-day isolation upon their return.

Spaniards were also allowed to move freely around the country from Sunday and many were expected to visit friends, relatives and second homes in other regions. Since March 14, people have had to remain in their own provinces.

People will still have to wear masks in public when social distancing measures cannot be observed

READ MORE | Spain lifts coronavirus state of emergency and reopens borders

China banned imports from a top US poultry producer and ordered a Beijing Pepsi factory to close on Sunday as authorites clamped down on food production and distribution amid a new coronavirus cluster in the capital.

Health officials also reported 22 new virus cases in Beijing, where they have tested more than two million residents as they seek to contain a wave of new infections linked to a wholesale market in the capital.

Imports of frozen chicken from Tyson Foods have been "temporarily suspended", the General Administration of Customs said, after a virus outbreak was found at one of the company's production facilities in the US.

Products from the firm that have already arrived in China will be confiscated, the statement said.

US food and drinks giant PepsiCo was also ordered to shut down one of its snack-making plants in Beijing after several employees tested positive, company spokesperson Fan Zhimin said.

READ MORE | China bans some US chicken, shuts Pepsi plant to fight virus

LATEST RESEARCH

A group of European researchers, led by the University of Kiel's professor of molecular medicine Andre Franke, published their findings regarding a link between our genes and severe respiratory failure among Covid-19 patients in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The massive genome-wide study was conducted on 1 980 patients from hospitals in Italy and Spain – the European epicentres of the disease early in the year – controlled against participants without coronavirus, or those who had no or mild Covid-19 symptoms.

It also included some participants from Norway and Germany, where the coronavirus had a much less devastating effect on the population.

Two genetic factors were found to influence the severity of Covid-19-induced respiratory failure and the need to be placed on ventilators – namely clusters found in the 3p21.31 and 9q34.2 chromosomes.

One of the risk alleles is also associated with the ABO-blood groups. Those with blood type A were 45% more likely to develop the disease, while O has some protective effect that makes O types only 65% as likely to the get it compared to other blood groups.

READ MORE Study finds genetic factors that make some more susceptible to Covid-19

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