Daily Covid-19 update: 862 new cases, 31 more deaths

South Africa registered 862 confirmed new cases, while pharmaceutical giant Merck reported promising results in trials of a drug administered orally to Covid-10 patients.


South Africa registered 862 confirmed new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, while 31 people were confirmed to have died from the virus.

In a statement released on Sunday evening, health minister Zweli Mkhize said the total number of cases in South Africa has crept up to 1 521 1068 infections.

18989 new tests have been conducted, bringing the total number of tests performed since the start of the outbreak to 9 255 492.

Of the 31 confirmed deaths on Sunday, 12 were in Gauteng, 2 in the Free State, 2 in KwaZulu-Natal, 4 in Mpumalanga, and 11 in the Western Cape.

Graphic: Department of Health

Global Covid-19 update:

Globally the Covid-19 death rate neared 2,6 million, with at least 2,588,597 people having died of coronavirus since the outbreak began in December 2019, an AFP tally from official sources at 1230 GMT showed.

The United States is the worst-affected country with 524,362 deaths, followed by Brazil (264,325), Mexico (190,357), India (157,756) and Britain (124,419).

First vaccines for Ethiopia

2.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived via the Covax scheme in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country, with officials saying inoculations will get under way in the coming days.

Back to the future in Israel

People with a “green pass” showing they have been vaccinated — about 40 percent of Israel’s population so far — are allowed back to bars, cafes and restaurants in the Middle Eastern country.

Schools, event halls, sport venues and places of worship are all throwing open their doors to the same group this week, although capacity limits remain in place.

Paraguay reshuffle after protests

President Mario Abdo Benitez says he will appoint new ministers of health, education, women’s issues and civil affairs, after 21 people were hurt in violent street protests over the government’s handling of the pandemic.

Paraguayans are angry over a shortage of personal protective gear and other equipment to confront the health crisis and a collapse in the healthcare system, and the health minister has already resigned.

Hopes for oral Covid drug

German pharma giant Merck and a US partner reported promising results in trials of a drug administered orally to fight Covid-19, saying it helps reduce patients’ viral load.

Pill-based molnupiravir, which it has developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, caused a significant drop in patients’ viral load after five days of treatment, Merck says.

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