Coronavirus: Why South Africa has yet to roll out
Coronavirus: Why South Africa has yet to roll out vaccines - BBC News
South Africa is the worst-hit country in Africa, but has not yet started doing Covid-19 vaccinations.
By Peter MwaiBBC Reality Check image captionSouth Africa has the highest number of infections in Africa More than a third of all Covid-19 cases in Africa have been in South Africa and numbers are surging with the emergence of a new variant of the virus. But unlike some other badly hit countries in the world, South Africa is yet to start its vaccination programme. President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa has so far secured twenty million doses, due to be delivered in the first half of 2021. But there's no detailed timeline for a programme aiming to vaccinate as many as forty million people. image copyrightGetty Images South Africa has been seeking to source vaccines in three ways:
- via the World Health Organization-backed Covax scheme
- via arrangements made by the African Union
- through bilateral contracts with vaccine manufacturers
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Covid: 'Most dangerous time' of the pandemic, says Prof Whitty - BBC News
The warning from England's chief medical officer comes as seven mass vaccination centres open.
media captionProfessor Whitty: "We need to really double down this is everybodys problem" The UK will go through the "most dangerous time" of the pandemic in the weeks before vaccine rollout has an impact, England's chief medical officer has warned. Prof Chris Whitty urged people to minimise all unnecessary contact with others. The next few weeks will be "the worst" of the pandemic for the NHS, he said. Thousands more people are due to receive a vaccine this week after seven mass centres opened across England. NHS England said hundreds more GP-led and hospital services would also open later this week. But with all centres, people will need to wait until they receive an invitation. The government is aiming to offer vaccinations to around 15 million people in the UK - the over-70s, older care home residents and staff, frontline healthcare workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable - by mid-February. Health Secretary Matt Hancock will set out the government's vaccine delivery plan at a news conference later. He said the proposals would be the "keystone of our exit out of the pandemic". Outlining the vaccine rollout in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that ministers aim to give all over-80s the first dose of the vaccine over the next four weeks. The Welsh Government plans to offer a vaccine to all over-50s and everyone who is at greater risk by spring. In Northern Ireland, which is rolling out vaccines for care workers, health trusts have seen the busiest 48 hours since the start of the pandemic. Mr Hancock said on Sunday about two million people in the UK had been vaccinated so far. Over the weekend, the UK passed the milestone of 80,000 deaths with coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. Currently, around one in 50 people across the UK is infected and Prof Whitty told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "There's a very high chance that if you meet someone unnecessarily they will have Covid." In a separate interview with BBC One's Breakfast, he said: "This is everybody's problem. Any single unnecessary contact you have with someone is a potential link in a chain of transmission that will lead to a vulnerable person." He said there were over 30,000 people [in English hospitals alone] with Covid-19 - compared to about 18,000 [in England] at the peak last April. He added that "anybody who is not shocked" by the number of people in hospital "has not understood this at all". "This is an appalling situation," he said. In Essex, Southend Hospital has had to reduce the amount of oxygen used to treat patients after supply "reached a critical situation", according to a document shared with the BBC. In Surrey, a temporary mortuary has been opened as hospital mortuaries have reached capacity. Almost 200 bodies are being stored at the emergency site, which is a former military hospital, and other local authorities have told the BBC they expect to open similar facilities soon. Prof Stephen Powis, NHS England national medical director, said "this is much bigger than the first wave back in April". "I don't think anyone in the NHS has known anything like this, this is a once-in-a-century pandemic," he said. Prof Rupert Pearse, an intensive care doctor, told BBC Breakfast that in a "normal" winter it would be "unlikely" that more than three of four flu patients would need intensive care at any one time, but his unit is now running 130 intensive care beds because of the effects of Covid. "To compare this to a normal winter flu epidemic is out of all proportion, it's orders of magnitude larger," he said. media captionThe emergency body storage facility in a Surrey woodland Under the national lockdown, people in England must stay at home and can go out only for limited reasons such as food shopping, exercise, or work if they cannot do so from home. Similar lockdown measures are in place across much of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Ministers held two meetings on Sunday to discuss how to enforce the current lockdown measures more strictly and whether even tighter restrictions may be needed. BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said no decisions on further restrictions were taken as there was a desire within government to wait until reliable data on existing measures becomes available in 10 days. However, he added there had been a discussion on better enforcement of existing regulations, including at shops and workplaces. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer questioned why there are "less restrictions in place" now than there were last March. In his first speech of the year, he said "we need to see the evidence behind nurseries" remaining open. Asked whether tighter restrictions were needed, he said: "I do think it's time to hear from the scientists [about] what else could be done and that probably should be done in the next few hours". There is a lot of debate about whether the lockdown restrictions need to be tightened. There are certainly some anomalies. For example, we are told to only leave the home for essential purposes, but coffee shops remain open for takeaways and retail shops for click-and-collect in England and Wales. However, even if those elements are tightened up, there is a limit to what the government can do. It is why, in his round of media interviews on Monday, Prof Whitty repeatedly talked about individual decision-making. The mixing of different households continues. Some of it is allowed under the support bubble exemptions, but undoubtedly some of it is taking place outside of this. It is, after all, virtually impossible to police what goes on in people's homes. It is why messaging is so important - and so ministers and officials are stressing the pressure the NHS is under. A further tightening of the restrictions could also help make the point. But there is also a recognition this is hard. People are fatigued. A further crackdown could also erode goodwill. The vaccination programme is described as the biggest in NHS history. The seven mass testing sites, which NHS England said were chosen to give a geographical spread, are:
- Millennium Point, Birmingham
- Ashton Gate, Bristol
- ExCel Centre, London
- Manchester Tennis and Football Centre
- Centre for Life, Newcastle
- Robertson House, Stevenage
- Epsom Downs Racecourse, Surrey
Covid: Mass vaccination centres to open in England - BBC News
Hundreds of GP-led and hospital services also open this week as the vaccination programme ramps up.
image captionThe Centre for Life in Newcastle is one of seven mass vaccination centres opening to the public on Monday Thousands more people will receive a Covid-19 vaccine this week as seven mass centres open across England. NHS England said hundreds more GP-led and hospital services would also open later this week. The government is aiming to vaccinate 15 million people in the UK - the over-70s, healthcare workers and those required to shield - by mid-February. Health Secretary Matt Hancock will set out the government's vaccine delivery plan at a press conference later. He said the proposals would be the "keystone of our exit out of the pandemic". The government will also publish its first daily figures which will reveal how many people have been given the vaccine. Mr Hancock said on Sunday about two million people in the UK had been vaccinated, with some 200,000 jabs administered in England daily. The vaccine plan will be unveiled after the UK recorded more than 80,000 coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic. In Surrey, which has one of the highest infection rates in the country, a temporary mortuary has been opened as hospital mortuaries have reached capacity. Almost 200 bodies are being stored at the emergency site, which is a former military hospital, and other local authorities have told the BBC they expect to open similar facilities soon. media captionThe emergency body storage facility in a Surrey woodland On Saturday scientists warned stricter lockdown measures might be needed in England and the health secretary has urged people to follow the spirit as well as the letter of the rules. Mr Hancock told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday "every time you try to flex the rules that could be fatal" and said staying at home was the "most important thing we can do collectively as a society". Under the national lockdown, people in England must stay at home and can go out only for limited reasons such as food shopping, exercise, or work if they cannot do so from home. Similar measures are in place across much of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Ministers held two meetings on Sunday to discuss how to enforce the current lockdown measures more strictly and whether even tighter restrictions may be needed. BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said no decisions on further restrictions were taken as there was a desire within government to wait until reliable data on the impact of the existing measures becomes available in 10 days before going any further. However, he added there had been a discussion on better enforcement of existing regulations which included how to ensure shops and workplaces that have remained open were observing health and safety rules, including social distancing. The vaccination programme is described as the biggest in NHS history, with an aim of offering jabs to most care home residents by the end of January and the most vulnerable by mid-February. Some 600,000 invites were due to be sent out over the weekend and this coming week to people aged 80 or older who live up to a 45-minute drive from one of the new regional centres. The new sites, which NHS England said were chosen to give a geographical spread covering as many people as possible, are:
- Millennium Point, Birmingham
- Ashton Gate, Bristol
- ExCel Centre, London
- Manchester Tennis and Football Centre
- Centre for Life, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
- Robertson House, Stevenage
- Epsom Downs Racecourse, Surrey
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Be passionate, but not violent - First Lady Melania Trump bids farewell - News24
First Lady Melania Trump released a farewell message on Monday as she prepares to leave the White House, saying that "violence is never the answer," weeks after the president's supporters stormed the US Capitol.
- First Lady Melania Trump released a farewell message on Monday.
- "The past four years have been unforgettable," she said in a six-minute speech.
- The Trumps' departure from the White House has been very dramatic, with various established inauguration traditions abrogated.
India stun Australia in historic fightback to clinch Test series - Daily Maverick
Bowled out for 36 in the first Test, without half-a-dozen frontline players, missing their talismanic skipper and leading batsman and competing away from home against a team with a formidable home record, India were supposed to roll over against Australia. Bu…
The Indian team celebrates victory after day five of the 4th Test Match in the series between Australia and India at The Gabba on January 19, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images) It seems years ago now, but when a Josh Hazlewood-inspired Australia bowling attack ripped Indias batting apart in the third innings of the first Test in Adelaide in December, it appeared the four-Test series was already over. India were skittled for 36 in their second innings after being well-positioned for a win after holding a 53-run first-innings lead. But Hazlewoods five for eight in five overs, with Pat Cummins adding four for 21, not only won the day, but to almost everyone outside Indias camp, had inflicted irreparable mental damage on Indias batting unit. Not so fast. Despite the fact that Australia knocked off the 90 needed to win with eight wickets remaining, there was a sense of calm in the Indian camp. On Tuesday, after nearly three months down under, they completed one of the most remarkable turnarounds in cricket history to win the fourth Test at the Gabba in Brisbane by three wickets and take a 2-1 series win. Wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant led the way with a brilliant 89 not out while Cheteshwar Pujara provided heroic support with 56 off 211 balls and 10 severe blows to the arms, head and body. Pujara was the embodiment of Indias fighting spirit from the second Test onwards. The contest at the Gabba went down to the last hour, of the last day, of the last Test. Australia ultimately lost, but great contests require two actors to elevate them to legendary status. And no doubt, this series will go down as legendary. This team has tremendous character and self-belief. Even after being bowled out for 36, the team had the belief that they could come back, India coach Ravi Shastri said after the match. Virat [Kohli] also left the team, but he will always be with us. Thats because this team wasnt built during this series. This team has been built over the past five or six years. And Virat Kohlis character has rubbed off on the team. Ajinkya Rahane led in Virat’s absence, and while hes a cool customer, hes a real fighter from inside. He handled the troops really well in Virats absence. Fittingly Pant hit the winning runs at 17:37 (local time), just 23 minutes from the scheduled end of play, as India scored 328 for seven a record run chase at the Gabba. It also ended Australias 31-match unbeaten run at the Gabba. India only needed a draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy, which they have held since 2017, after winning the second Test in Melbourne and stubbornly forcing a draw in Sydney. But this India team wanted to win to underline they were the better team over four compelling encounters. In a series that had everything, including sadly, an incident of some of the Sydney crowd hurling racial abuse at fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj, fortunately, it was the compelling cricket that will be remembered. We were here to win the series, but we have just been outplayed by a disciplined and tough Indian side who fully deserve the series win. We have to look back over a lot of things, and well go through it as a group, and we have been outplayed by a better side this series, Australia captain Tim Paine said after the match. If Pujura embodied the physical courage to deny Australia, it was Pant who embodied the mental pluck to take the attack back to Australias much-vaunted bowling attack. Fortune favours the brave they say, and India were brave in every sense physically, mentally and tactically. I think this is one of the biggest things in my life right now, Pant said after his heroics at the Gabba. I wasnt playing in the starting matches, but it has been a dream series I can say that. After not playing the first match, I have been practising hard and everything paid off because we won the series. The team management always backs me and tells me that you are matchwinner and you always have to go and win the match for the team. That’s the only thing I keep on thinking every day that I want to win matches for India and I am happy that I did it today. It was a fifth-day pitch and the ball was turning a bit and I thought I had to be a bit disciplined with my shot selection. And it was all held together by the understated, but brilliant stand-in skipper Rahane, who steered his side to a first win in Brisbane and a first-ever back-to-back series win in Australia. India show mettle Not only did India fall apart in the first Test, they then had to deal with the loss of captain and leading batsman Virat Kohli, who returned home to be at the birth of his daughter. With 14-day quarantine periods required to come into Australia, it just wasnt feasible for the skipper to return for the fourth Test. With Kohli gone, India suffered injuries throughout the series. Opener Rohit Sharma missed the first two Tests through a hamstring injury while top order batter Mayank Agarwal missed the third Test. Fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah (abdominal strain), Mohammed Shami (arm fracture) and Umesh Yadav (torn calf) all succumbed at various stages. Star spinner Ravi Ashwin (back strain) also missed the fourth Test. Spinner Ravindra Jadeja missed the first and the fourth Tests through concussion and a thumb injury. All-rounder Hanuma Vihari, who frustrated Australias bowling attack in the drawn third Test in Sydney, missed the Brisbane decider through a hamstring injury. Pant wasnt even the first choice wicketkeeper going into the series but took his chance when called into the side, as did all the others who had to step up in hostile conditions. Seamers Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini all contributed heavily at the Gabba. Saini took a five-for in the second innings, which Australia dismissed for 294. Shardul weighed-in with four wickets on a pitch that was supposed to favour Australias barrage of seamers. The comeback After the lows of Adelaide, India regrouped and immediately, and stunningly, put Australia on the backfoot at the MCG in Melbourne. The home team won the toss and batted, but were dismissed for 195. Bumrah took four of the wickets as no Australian batsman reached a half century. In reply, India turned the screw, scoring 326 with Rahane contributing 112 in a classic skippers innings that showed Australia the series was far from over. Australia again struggled with the bat and only managed 200 in their second innings, as no batsman reached a half century again. It left India needing a modest 70 to win, but after what happened in Adelaide, there were some butterflies. With India at 19 for two, Australia had their tails up so soon after dismissing the tourists for 36, but Rahane (27 not out) and opener Shubman Gill (35 not out) saw them home by eight wickets. The series was level halfway through, and in the context of the Adelaide collapse, it was perhaps the most remarkable comeback by a touring team in Australia. The third Test in Sydney ended in a draw but it was a moral victory for India, who stubbornly batted through a deteriorating fifth-day pitch to force the stalemate. Australia posted 338 after winning the toss and batting. Steve Smith finally found some form on his way to 131. India could only respond with 244, giving the Aussies a handy 94-run first innings advantage. The home side piled on 312 for six before declaring their second innings with Cameron Green (84) and Smith (81) setting the platform. From there Hazlewood, Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon were supposed to finish off India with more than a day to bowl at them. But Indias resilience was otherworldly with Ashwin and Vihari surviving for 42.1 overs while adding only 62 runs, it forced a draw and sent the series into the Gabba decider. And the rest is history. DM