News | Covid-19
11 January marked one year since the first coronavirus death – a 61-year-old man who was a regular at the Wuhan wet market in China.
A year later and the pandemic is raging, with almost two millions deaths worldwide and tens of millions ill.
Economies have been hit hard by the lockdowns, with many losing their livelihoods. Many countries have to enforce new lockdowns again after waves of new infections.
South Africa is no different, with 33 000-plus deaths and recording 16 000-plus daily infections for the past few weeks.
It is expected to get worse as the second wave, which includes a new variant, wreaks havoc.
Many countries have already embarked on a vaccine roll-out plan.
South Africa has an ambitious plan where it will attempt to provide vaccines to 67% of the population – roughly 40 million people – by the end of the year.
With this as a backdrop, we welcome news that a World Health Organisation (WHO) team will be allowed access to China to start probing the origins of the virus.
A 10-member team will “conduct joint research cooperation on the origins of Covid-19 with Chinese scientists” from Thursday.
WHO initially was refused access to Wuhan by Chinese authorities. They have since backtracked and will allow the probe, which is expected to take over a month.
As Gauteng premier David Makhura said after an inspection of Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria: “The next two weeks are going to be more difficult…we are in the eye of the storm of the second wave.”
We have so many more questions than answers and while we will probably not get the conclusive answers we want, his is at least a step in the right direction in finding the origins of the coronavirus.
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