CORONAVIRUS WEEKLY DIGEST #27

SA fixes a date to register for vaccination, municipal election delay debated and unpaid rent relief probed

By Christi Nortier 9 April 2021

Compilation image by Sahra Heuwel.

This week, a date was set for registration for Covid-19 vaccination in South Africa. Meanwhile, the IFP has called for a delay to the 2021 municipal election because of the pandemic. And civil society has demanded an explanation as to why millions of rands in Covid-19 rent relief is yet to be paid out.

Department of Health dispels vaccination registration rumours

The department of health has called social media rumours that people over 60 years should register for a Covid-19 vaccine now are “obnoxious and completely false”. 

During an oversight visit to Gauteng, health minister Zweli Mkhize was asked about vaccination of the elderly but was hesitant to commit to any dates or logistics. Bheki Simelane reports on the visit to two old age homes and Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.

It was announced on Friday that registration for everyone who wants to receive a Covid-19 vaccine will open on 16 April. Phase Two of the rollout strategy is scheduled to begin on 17 May. However, vaccine supply will be “somewhat constrained” between May and August, said Dr Leslie Bamford who is coordinating the roll-out. Read more here.

Read more: Pieces are finally slotting into place for SA’s mass vaccination – but there’s a long way to go

IFP calls for delay to 2021 municipal election

The 2021 municipal elections should be postponed until May 2022 because of the obstacles to voter registration and party campaigning the Covid-19 pandemic has created, argued the IFP this week. Marianne Merten sets out how and why this could happen.

Covid-19 rent relief still not paid eight months later

Civil society has launched a petition calling on Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to explain why R600-million set aside for rent relief for tenants and landlords has not been paid out. Sisulu’s office has denied that she promised to provide relief for those facing “financial distress” due to the pandemic. Read more here.

Read more: New Covid-era shack dweller movement behind recent wave of Cape Town service delivery protests

Covid-19 patients get wider access to ivermectin after court settlement

The South African Health Products Authority has reached a settlement with four parties to provide access to ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19. This week, the Gauteng high court has ordered that doctors can legally prescribe doses of medicine containing ivermectin for specific patients with Covid-19. In addition, it ordered the authority to update the court every three months on the availability of ivermectin to treat Covid-19. Read more here.

Proposed EC vaccination site has been derelict for more than a year

Laetitia Bam Day Hospital in Kariega (formerly Uitenhage) has been proposed as a Covid-19 vaccination site – but it has been “under construction” for more than a year. The contractor abandoned the site because the province’s department of health has delayed payment. Incomplete wings of the hospital stand abandoned and the TB treatment unit, as well as the X-ray unit, stand closed. The department says construction will resume next week. Read more here.

Read More: Six things you should know about the Sisonke Covid-19 vaccine study

Pandemic blamed for EC’s three-year failure to improve mental health services

A report has exposed that there has been nearly no improvement in the mental health services the Eastern Cape department health provides to residents. The report notes that the province has blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for this lack of progress. However, it has been three years since the programme was placed under administration on the recommendation of the Health Ombudsman. Estelle Ellis unpacks the report. DM/MC.

Gallery

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CORONAVIRUS: NEWSFLASH

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