Covid-19 deaths in SA rise to 50 566

File picture: AFP

Cape Town – A total of 1 313 new Covid-19-related cases have been recorded in the country, with the cumulative number of cases rising to 1 518 979.

The number of fatalities now stands at 50 566 after 104 more Covid-19 deaths were reported: Free State 29, Western Cape 17, Gauteng 16, Northern Cape 15, Limpopo 12, KwaZulu-Natal 8, Eastern Cape 4, Mpumalanga 3 and North West 0.

A total of 1 404 new Covid-19 cases were recorded yesterday, with 96 more deaths.

The number of recoveries has risen to 1 437 050, representing a recovery rate of 94.6%. The cumulative total of tests conducted to date is 9 207 347, with 29 024 new tests recorded since the last report.

Data supplied by the Department of Health

Despite a high-profile visit to China by a team of international experts in January, the world is no closer to knowing the origins of Covid-19, according to one of the authors of an open letter calling for a new investigation into the pandemic.

“At this point we are no further advanced than we were a year ago,” said Nikolai Petrovsky, an expert in vaccines at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and one of 26 global experts who signed the open letter, published on Thursday.

In January, a team of scientists picked by the World Health Organisation (WHO) visited hospitals and research institutes in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the coronavirus was identified, in search of clues about the origins of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, a more contagious variant of the coronavirus first detected in Britain might soon become the predominant strain in Germany, making it hard to stop its spread, the head of the Robert Koch Institute said on Friday.

Lothar Wieler said the B117 variant now made up more than 40% of coronavirus cases in Germany, compared to about 6% of cases four weeks ago.

“It is foreseeable that B117 will soon be the predominant variant in Germany and then it will be even more difficult to keep the virus in check because B117 is more contagious and even more dangerous in all age groups,” he said.

The San Diego Zoo has made history as the first facility in the world to give non-human primate species the Covid-19 vaccine, reports Al Jazeera.

Nine apes (four orangutans and five bonobos) received two jabs initially designed to vaccinate cats and dogs, with zoo officials taking the decision to inoculate the primates after eight apes contracted the infectious disease at the zoo in January.

Among the recipients is a 28-year-old Sumatran orangutan named Karen, a primate already made famous for being the first ape to go under the knife for open heart surgery in 1994.


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