- 5 March 2021 marks exactly one year since the first positive case of Covid-19 was identified in South Africa
- A 38-year-old KwaZulu-Natal man was part of a group of ten people who returned from a trip to Italy
- Since then, over a million cases have been identified in the country with over 50 000 reported deaths
On Thursday, 5 March 2020, South Africa identified the first Covid-19 positive patient in the country. 'Patient 0' was a 38-year-old male who returned from a trip to Italy with his wife and a group of 8 other people.
Since then, there have been 1.52 million cases identified, 1.44 million recoveries and 50 462 reported deaths. South Africans have been in lockdown since 27 March 2020 after the lockdown was announced on 23 March.
The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine has been positive, so far, with frontline healthcare workers being the first to receive the vaccine in Phase 1.
Since the first patient was identified, there have been multiple strains of the virus. Including the 501Y.V2 strain dubbed the 'South African strain'. Businesses have collapsed, alcohol and tobacco sales were stopped and life changed for many South Africans and others across the globe.
Briefly.co.za takes a look at some of the latest Covid-19 developments reported.
A South African based immunotherapy firm has developed Africa's first Covid-19 vaccine - Shantivax. The vaccines were designed and developed by scientists from GenLab based in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape.
The vaccine prototype was developed in collaboration with a Danish company. Human trials for the Shantivax are expected to begin in the next 10 months, according to the CEO of GenLab Kamsellin Chetty. The vaccine is currently undergoing pre-clinical trials.
Covid-19 vaccine rollout and herd immunity
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said that 1.1 million South Africans will receive the Covid-19 vaccine by the end of March. Mkhize said that authorities might have to inoculate more people than the original figure of 40 million.
This has to be done in order to achieve her immunity. Mkhize was addressing the National Council of Provinces on South Africa when he added that more than 32 000 health workers had received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) jab so far.
Fake Covid-19 vaccines seized
The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) revealed on Wednesday that South African authorities seized hundreds of fake Covid-19 vaccines and made arrests. The international policing authority confirmed that an equivalent of 2 400 doses was found in Gauteng.
Authorities also found a number of fake 3M (a disposable respirator mask) masks. According to National Police Spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo, the government has adopted an integrated multi-disciplinary law enforcement approach since Covid-19 arrived in the country.
Third-wave expected sooner
Professor Shabir Madhi, prof of vaccinology at Wits University, believes that coronavirus numbers will rise towards May, following Easter. Prof Madhi was speaking on Monday during a leadership dialogue hosted by Wits Business School.
He says that easing regulations before the Easter holiday season could result in the third wave arriving much sooner than expected. Prior predictions suggested the third wave would be arriving towards the winter months (June onwards).
Previously, Briefly.co.za reported that the 501Y.V2 strain can protect against itself and prior mutations. Scientists have revealed that those infected by the 501Y.V2 Covid-19 variant are not only protected against this strain but also against earlier mutations.
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize were joined by experts while giving an update on local research conducted on the 501Y.V2 variant on Wednesday.
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