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’Exponential rise’ in new Covid-19 cases has Mkhize on edge

People queueing outside the Post Office at Church Square in Pretoria on Thursday. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

People queueing outside the Post Office at Church Square in Pretoria on Thursday. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 10, 2020


Cape Town – The number of new Covid-19-related cases increased from 6 709 yesterday to 8 166, with Health Minister Zweli Mkhize expressing concern over the exponential rise the last few days.

’’Today, we wish to reiterate our plea to South Africans to heed the threat of the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases identified. There is clear evidence of an exponential rise in transmission and this is cause for serious concern,“ Mkhize said in a statement.

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’’As of today, a cumulative total of 836 764 cases have been reported with 8 166 new cases.’

’’Regrettably, we report 173 more Covid-19-related deaths (up from 135 on Wednesday): Eastern Cape 90, Free State 13, Gauteng 8, Kwa-Zulu Natal 10 and Western Cape 52, which brings the total to 22 747 deaths.

'’A cumulative 5 735 470 tests have been completed, of which 45 207 have been conducted since the last report.’’

Data supplied by the Department of Health

South Africa intends to fast-track regulatory approval for Covid-19 vaccines and expects the first applications within a fortnight, pharmaceutical regulator SAHPRA told Reuters, as the country faces a second wave of infections.

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South Africa is the continent's hardest-hit country with more than 828 000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 22 000 deaths.

The government hopes to receive its first vaccines from the COVAX global vaccine distribution scheme in the second quarter of next year.

"SAHPRA will prioritise all Covid-19 applications and will apply an expedited approach to health products, including vaccines," said Yuven Gounden, spokesperson for the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority.

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The expedited method will include a "rolling review approach" where vaccine candidate evaluation is done as data becomes available, he added.

The regulator will rely on guidance from the World Health Organisation and work done by international counterparts, such as European and US pharmaceutical regulators, to avoid repeating work already done that could delay approvals.

"We expect the first vaccine applications in the next week or two," Gounden said.

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Speaking at an event at Tembisa Hospital in Gauteng on Thursday, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has been captured on video praying about vaccines being “of the devil” and corrupting people's DNA.

In what his office confirmed as a prayer, the nearly two-minute video, which is circulating widely on social media, has Justice Mogoeng starting out by saying: “Whatever phase is said to be coming, Lord I judge it, I run it down in the name of Jesus. I lock out every demon of Covid-19.

“I lock out any vaccine that is not of you. If there be any vaccine that is of the devil, meant to infuse triple-six in the lives of people, meant to corrupt their DNA ... Any such vaccine, Lord God Almighty, may it be destroyed by fire in the name of Jesus.”


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