Maverick Citizen

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

Compilation image by Sahra Heuwel.

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.

The Minister of Health Dr. Zweli Mkhize. (Photo: Deon Ferreira)

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.

Read more: Needle to know – Do I still need to wear a mask when vaccinated, and other questions

Read more: Shot in the dark – Making sense of Covid vaccines and potential side effects

Ramaphosa calls on South Africans to support TRIPS waiver proposal

Activists outside Pfizer headquarters in Manhattan, New York demand that US President Joe Biden support the TRIPS waiver, which would lift the intellectual property protection for Covid-19 vaccines.
(Photo: Steven Francis Kong)

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

Amnesty International, Public Services International and UNI Global Union drew on a wide range of sources recently to estimate that at least 17 000 health workers died from COVID-19 in the first year of the pandemic.
(Photo: twittercom/Wikipedia)

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

A health worker administers a dose of the AstraZeneca Plc Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination center set up in Karachi, Pakistan, on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Pakistan, going through its third wave of coronavirus infections, reported 874 deaths in week ended April 25, the highest since the pandemic began, according to data collected by Bloomberg and Johns Hopkins University. (Photo: Asim Hafeez/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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.

Read more: Vaccines and vulnerability – Survey provides window of insight into SA’s Covid second wave

Free State braces for an imminent third wave

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken an enormous physical and emotional toll on the world’s health workers. (Photo: Richard Borge/scientificamerican.com/Wikipedia)

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

File photo: TAC members and members of partner organisations march to Parliament in Cape Town. (Photo: Gallo Images / The Times / Esa Alexander)

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

A pylon tower carries electrical power lines over residential shacks, some equipped with solar power geysers on their roofs, in the Alexandra township outside Johannesburg, South Africa, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. is building new electricity stations to end the power cuts that were imposed for about 100 days last year, curbing growth in Africa’s most-industrialized nation. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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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