The Department of Defence has been hit with allegations it forked over R215 million to import Covid-19 linked drugs which have not been registered or even approved with health authorities. Briefly.co.za explores this story and more top updates on the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa.
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The Department of Defence is in the spotlight on Thursday after allegations that it spent R215 million to procure unproven medication.
The Covid-19 related drugs have not been registered or approved for use in South Africa by the relevant health authorities.
Briefly.co.za explores the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic in South Africa:
1. SANDF in R215 million medication scandal
A report by News24 has revealed that the Department of Defence has been hit with allegations that it spent R215 million importing Covid-19 related medication that had not been registered with health authorities.
The details emerged in a confidential letter from the SA Military Health Services, showing that defence officials had spent millions on three consignments of Heberon Alpha R 2B in April.
The drug is manufactured by a Cuban-Chinese company and is believed to be effective against the coronavirus by some.
However, Major-General LC Ford ( who penned the letter) has rejected the unexpected delivery of the drug, adamant that the SAMHS has no responsibility to pay for the consignment as it does not form part of the treatment protocols for Covid-19.
In addition to this, Ford pointed out that the consignment was useless as it has not been registered for use by the South African Health Regulatory Authority.
2. Mkhize on latest statistics
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has provided South Africa with an update on the number of Covid-19 infections and fatalities.
In a statement issued by the Department of Health on Wednesday evening, Mkhize confirmed that:
"As of today, the cumulative number of detected COVID-19 cases is 708 359, with 2055 new cases reported in the last 24 hours."
The Minister also confirmed that a number of new fatalities has been recorded, commenting that:
"Regrettably, we report 85 COVID-19 related deaths today. This brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths to 18 741. Of the 85 deaths reported today, 8 occurred in the past 48 hours."
Mkhize reported that recoveries now stand at 641 706 which translates to a recovery rate of 90%.
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina responded to the coronavirus crisis by saying that he would divert emergency funding to procure a vaccine from Cuba.
The Interferon alpha-2b vaccine, according to Masina, would help his city in the fight against the outbreak.
Masina had made his proposal during a state of the city address earlier in March, just days before South Africa would enter into a lockdown period.
While President Cyril Ramaphosa announced 'immediate, swift and extraordinary action' to save Mzanzi from the pandemic, Masina insisted the answer to the crisis lay in Cuban soil.
Africa Check reports that, while the vaccine has treated symptoms similar to the coronavirus, it would not serve the function the mayor believes it will.
The World Health Organization points out that there is still “no specific vaccines or treatments for Covid-19”.
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