South Africa’s Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, has said new research showed that the confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the country may be significantly lower than the actual of people infected with the virus.
Mkhize said research estimates that 12 million people – about 20% of the country’s population could already have been infected with the coronavirus.
The country’s official cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases is 650,749.
The research is based on examining seroprevalence – the amount of antibodies present in a patient’s bloodstream.
In a statement released on Monday night, Dr Mkhize said a decline in cases has raised questions of what level of immunity might exist in the country.
He explained initial samples had shown “seroprevalence of between 29 and 40%”.
A national seroprevalence study is now underway.
Vaccinologist and member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee, Professor Shabir Madhi, says the true number of infections may be even higher.
He estimates between 35% and 40% of South Africans in densely populated areas could already have been infected, pushing the possible number of infections as high as 20 million.
During the spike in July, between 10,000 and 15,000 new cases were reported daily.
But in the last 24 hours, just 956 new cases were identified. The death toll is 15,499, while the recovery rate remains high at 88.9%
Meanwhile, South Africa received a donation of R50 million from the United Kingdom.
The donation is expected to be channelled towards projects supporting and promoting women’s empowerment.
International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Alvin Botes received the monetary donation and participated in a signing ceremony with the UK government on Monday.
The donation is aimed at extending the Solidarity Fund’s ongoing efforts to counter the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa, with a particular focus on women’s empowerment.
COVID-19 Trial Vaccine: Egypt’s Health Minister Gets a Shot
The Minister of Health in Egypt, Hala Zayed, has been injected with Chinese version of the coronavirus (COVID-19) trial vaccine.
The phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccines are currently taking place in Egypt and 100 other countries.
A statement by the ministry’s spokesman Khaled Megahed, said the minister had the vaccine injected in the deltoid muscle in her upper arm at the Egyptian Holding Company for Biopharmaceuticals and Vaccines (Vacsera).
The vaccine trial is being carried out in Egypt in cooperation with the Chinese government and the UAE’s G42 Healthcare.
In July, Egypt was selected by China to serve as a future African hub for manufacturing a coronavirus vaccine if one is developed by Beijing.
The trial vaccine has been administered to 40,000 volunteers around the world, none of whom have displayed adverse side effects. Some 45,000 more volunteers are set to take the vaccine.
Some 6,000 people in Egypt are among the participants in phase 3, which is deemed the final stage in the trial to test the efficacy and safety of the vaccine before it is licensed, the statement said.
Zayed has called on Egyptians to take part in the trials “for the sake of humanity.”
According to a previous statement by the health ministry, volunteers receive two injections, 21 days apart, and will be monitored over the year.
They also will take a PCR test to make sure they have not previously been infected with the virus.
As of Sunday, Egypt has reported a total of 103,000 coronavirus cases, including 5,883 deaths
Kenya Extends COVID-19 Curfew By 60 Days
President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya has extended a curfew imposed on the East African country due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by another 60 days.
Kenyatta, who announced the extension on Monday, however, relaxed the starting time from 9:00 p.m to 11:00 p.m.
The president also lifted a ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and bars which will operate until 10:00 p.m from Tuesday.
Kenyatta also announced that church services, weddings and funerals can have a maximum of 200 people, up from 100.
According to the President, the finance minister would extend tax relief measures unveiled in April until January 2021.
Schools will not yet reopen until it is established that it’s safe to do so, Kenyatta said.
Kenya has had 38,115 cases of the virus and 691 deaths since its first case on March 13.
The government quickly put measures into place to curb the spread of the disease, including shutting schools, closing borders, mandatory mask-wearing in public, and a curfew that lasts until 5:00 a.m.
Fears that the creaky public healthcare system might be overwhelmed have not materialized and the East African nation is slowly reopening.
Nigeria Records 126 New COVID-19 Infections, Two Deaths
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced two deaths and 126 new cases of COVID-19 infections in the country.
The NCDC made this known on its official twitter handle on Sunday.
More than 502, 545 samples have been tested by the agency since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country in February.
It also said that the 126 new cases were recorded in 12 states, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 58,324.
The NCDC stated that 72 patients had recovered and had been discharged in the last 24 hours, while the country recorded two coronavirus-related deaths.
According to NCDC, FCT tops the chart with 30 new cases of the infections followed by Lagos, Rivers and Ogun with 24, 23 and 13 cases respectively.
Other states with new infections, it said, included Katsina-9, Plateau-9, Ondo-6, Kaduna-4, Kwara-4, Imo-2, Bauchi-1 and Edo-1.
“Till date, 58,324 cases have been confirmed, 49,794 cases have been discharged and 1,108 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” it said.
It said that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre, activated at Level 3, have continued to coordinate the national response activities across the country.
Meanwhile, the NCDC has said it is working hard to ensure travel into and out of the country is seamless while prioritising public health and safety.
The agency also said two new laboratories had been activated for inclusion in the NCDC Molecular Lab Network.
They are the Osun State University Multidisciplinary Research Laboratory, Osogbo, and Nasarawa State Diagnostic Laboratory, Lafia.
According to NCDC, testing at any laboratory in the NCDC network is free.
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