CORONAVIRUS WEEKLY DIGEST #31
SA braces for a third wave, prepares for the vaccine roll-out and delays a new HIV and TB plan by two years
This week, South Africa waited with bated breath for the vaccine roll-out to begin and for an imminent third wave of Covid-19 infections to break. Meanwhile, a survey reveals most South Africans would take the vaccine if given the chance. And the pandemic delays a new plan for HIV and TB health services by two years.
List of vaccination sites a ‘work in progress’, Mkhize says
The official list of vaccination sites is a “work in progress” and 130 public sector sites are expected to be active in the first week of South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told Parliament on 13 May. This was three days before the roll-out was set to begin and is a “far cry” from the 3,357 sites the country was said to have, points out Marianne Merten.
Earlier in the week, the Department of Health assured that those over 60 who have registered to have the vaccine would receive a message to schedule their appointment very soon. Read more here.
Ramaphosa calls on South Africans to support TRIPS waiver proposal
In his weekly letter, President Cyril Ramaphosa called on “all South Africans” – particularly civil society organisations – to support the country’s call for a temporary waiver of aspects of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. This would allow all countries to access the technology and know-how to produce Covid-19 vaccines and medicines. Read the letter in full here.
Report exposes a globe unprepared for future pandemics
The Covid-19 pandemic was preventable and unless there is global change then the world will remain highly at risk of yet another pandemic taking hold, according to the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response. South Africa’s former director-general of the Health Department, Malebona Precious Matsoso, was one of the experts on the panel. Maverick Citizen editor Mark Heywood asked her how things can practically be done differently. Read more here.
Majority of people in South Africa want a Covid-19 vaccine
More than 71% of adult South Africans want a Covid-19 vaccine if it is available. This is according to the latest NIDS-CRAM study of how the pandemic has affected the country. The survey found that rotational learning at schools has caused huge learning losses as well as worsening hunger. Ferial Haffajee unpacks the survey’s findings here.
Free State braces for an imminent third wave
The Free State is expecting a third wave of Covid-19 infections in three weeks, although the first signs of a surge are appearing. The province has flagged social gatherings as the main driver of the increase at present and in the weeks to come unless behaviour changes. Doctors have noted that patients are younger than in the previous two waves and hospitals are filling up steadily. Meanwhile, nurses are still battling to access sufficient personal protective equipment and fair pay. Read more here.
Covid-19 delays new HIV and TB plan by two years
South Africa will wait until 2024 to introduce a new HIV and TB plan. The 2017 plan will extend past its 2022 cut-off until 2023 and the new plan will come into effect in 2024. This is to allow more time for the country to make up for disruptions to HIV and TB health services caused by Covid-19. The task is now how to integrate Covid-19 care into South Africa’s health programme. Read more here.
Shack dweller movement asks government for basic services
About 100 people from the Intlungu yaseMatyotyombeni Movement protested outside the Western Cape legislature on Monday, 10 May. They asked the province to provide them with water, proper sanitation and electricity in the informal settlements where they live in order to protect them from contracting Covid-19. Premier Alan Winde was not there to meet them, so they decided to return at a later date. Read more here.
Betting World workers demand money owed since 2020
Employees of Betting World have demanded their salaries from April 2020, Unemployment Insurance Fund Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme money and leave pay. The holding company, Phumelela Gaming and Leisure, has been closed since March 2020 and is in business rescue. Read more here. DM/MC
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