Maverick Citizen

CORONAVIRUS WEEKLY DIGEST #36

Third wave takes hold as SA is promised replacements for two million J&J jabs

Compilation image by Sahra Heuwel.

This week, South Africa was moved to Alert Level 3 as the third wave of Covid-19 infections firmly took hold. Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson and Aspen committed to replacing all two million J&J shots by the end of June 2021. And teachers received confirmation that they will be vaccinated next week.

Five days after South Africa officially entered a third wave of Covid-19 infections, the country was moved to Alert Level 3 restrictions, as Gauteng’s curve indicated it will surpass the peak of its second wave.

On 16 June the country recorded the highest number of daily cases and highest positivity rate since January 2021. The number of new cases was 13,246 and the positivity rate sat at 21.7%. 

By 18 June there were 1,786,079 cases and 104,437 active cases. There was an increase of 21,133 active cases and 444 deaths this week. The positivity rate rose by 4.1%.

SA moved back to Alert Level 3

South Africa was moved to Alert Level 3 on Tuesday, 15 June because of an increase in new Covid-19 infections, hospital admissions, deaths and the positivity rate over the previous seven days, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Gauteng is of particular concern. “The increase in infections in Gauteng is now faster and steeper than it was at the same time in previous waves. Within a matter of days it is likely that the number of new cases in Gauteng will surpass the peak of the second wave. Private hospitals in the province have reported that they are near capacity,” he said.

The restrictions include:

  1. A curfew from 10pm to 4am;
  2. Non-essential establishments such as restaurants, bars and fitness centres must close by 9pm to allow their employees and patrons to travel home before curfew;
  3. All gatherings will be limited to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors. Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate physical distancing, no more than 50% of the venue’s capacity may be used. This includes religious services, political events and social gatherings, as well as restaurants, bars, taverns and similar places;
  4. Attendance at funerals and cremations may not exceed 50 people. Night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and “after-tears” gatherings are not allowed;
  5. The sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption will only be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday. This excludes public holidays. Alcohol sales for on-site consumption will be permitted as per licence conditions up to 9pm; and
  6. Alcohol consumption in all public spaces, such as beaches and parks, is strictly forbidden. 

Read the report by Estelle Ellis.

J&J and Aspen promise to replace jabs

This week, J&J and Aspen committed to replacing all two million J&J Covid-19 vaccine doses which had to be destroyed after being contaminated at a manufacturing plant in the US. 

A batch of 300,000 doses will be administered to teachers and education sector workers from Tuesday, 22 June over 10 working days. Read the report by Marianne Merten.

Catch up on the weeks’ vaccination diary:

Monday, 14 June: Aspen confirms 300,000 Johnson and Johnson jabs for SA teachers

Tuesday, 15 June: A timeline for J&J jabs and Gauteng allows walk-ins at all public sites 

Thursday, 17 June: Teachers will be vaccinated from next week – and Covax will deliver Pfizer jabs by the end of June

Read more: The government should explain plans in wake of Johnson and Johnson vaccine setback

Most Western Cape schools not ready to fully reopen

There are 1,523 schools in the Western Cape that teach grades 1 to 7 and 1,195 are not ready to reopen for full-time teaching on 26 July, according to a survey by the Western Cape education department. This means only 328 are ready. The main challenge: physical distancing of at least 1m. Read the report by Suné Payne.

Most students suffered psychological distress during the pandemic

More than 65% of students experienced mild to severe psychological distress during the pandemic, according to a new study on the social impact of the pandemic on young people. About 79% of students believed they should receive routine counselling during this time. The survey revealed that students also faced hunger and difficulties communicating with their education institutions, and were forced to move home. Read the report by Victoria O’Regan. DM/MC

Gallery

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