South Africa has completed more than two million tests for COVID-19 amid a record high single-day surge in cases, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said Thursday.
Of 2,000,569 tests completed, 56,170 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, Mkhize said in his daily update.
“This is an enormous achievement that we can all be proud of as South Africans,” said Mkhize.
As mass community testing has been gaining momentum, South Africa also saw rapid rises in confirmed cases and virus-related deaths.
As of Thursday, a total of 238,339 cases were reported with 13,674 new cases recorded over the past 24 hours, the highest single-day surge since the outbreak in early March, said Mkhize.
“Regrettably, we report a further 129 COVID-19 related deaths — one from Northern Cape, 26 from KwaZulu-Natal, 28 from Eastern Cape, 37 from Gauteng and 37 from Western Cape,” the minister said, adding that the nationwide death toll has reached 3,720.
Gauteng has overtaken the Western Cape to become the country’s hardest-hit province with 81,546 cases, said Mkhize.
The Western Cape was ranked second with 74,815 cases, followed by the Eastern Cape with 44,432, and KwaZulu-Natal with 19,630.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Mental adjustment crucial in return to court, says Yastremska
The 20-year-old Yastremska, who released a second pop track during the shutdown, defeated Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-3, 6-4 to reach the second round.
She said it was “tough to describe” her feelings on court.
“Firstly I am very happy, it’s been a long time,” the world No. 25 said on a virtual conference call.
“At the same time it was very difficult to play because you haven’t been in this atmosphere for a long time and you kind of forgot this feeling of competition a little bit.
“Today the most important thing was the mental part. Physically it was also a bit tough because we are not used to playing a match (in a long time).”
Organisers have allowed a handful of spectators to watch the action on the main court with social distancing guidelines and temperature checks in place.
Players have to wear masks when not on court and are not allowed to shake hands at the net or with the umpire.
“The best time during this tournament is when you are on court and in your room.
“Because you can be without the mask and you can breathe normally.
“But it’s really nice and very cool that the tournament is going on and we are competing because I really missed that.
All players respect the rules and it’s good that everything is working well,” said Yastremska, who reached a career high ranking of 21st earlier this year.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)
More than 1bn school children worldwide affected by COVID-19, says UN Chief
The coronavirus pandemic has prompted the largest educational disruption in history that has affected more than 1 billion school students worldwide, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday.
“In mid-July, schools were closed in more than 160 countries, affecting over 1 billion students,” Guterres said in a video address, marking the launch of a new global policy brief on Education and COVID-19.
It is true that the schooling crisis existed long before the pandemic, as around 250 million children were out of school worldwide, but COVID-19 amplified it and brought the world to the edge of what Guterres described as a “generational catastrophe.”
While commending efforts to keep up education via distant learning, the UN chief said that many students stayed out of reach, for example, learners with disabilities, those in minority of disadvantaged communities, displaced and refugee students.
The schooling crisis has, in turn, had a knock-on effect on child nutrition, child marriage, gender equality and fair distribution of unpaid care work, among other things.
As elaborated by Guterres, the proposed brief addresses the crisis management through four steps, including the reopening of schools, increase of education funding, expansion of outreach, and modernisation of education through boost of investments in digital literacy and infrastructure.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Iran to fine infringement of coronavirus measures
Iran’s coronavirus crisis unit on Tuesday said it would introducte fines for infringements of coronavirus measures such as wearing of face masks, the authorities announced on Tuesday.
“It is unacceptable that some people still refuse to wear a mask in spite rising infection numbers, putting their fellow citizens at risk,” Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said.
He said that the ministry was fully in support of the crisis unit’s plan to sanction defaulters.
“Since the end of July, around 200 people have died from the coronavirus per day, due to the high number of new infections.
“Around 2,700 new cases were reported on Tuesday,“Harirchi said.
Meanwhile, the Iranian medical association has also warned of staff shortages.
Overall, there have been a total of 314,786 cases and 17,617 deaths related to Covid-19.
There have also been disagreements within the Iranian Government regarding August’s Ashura festival, which routinely draws huge crowds.
While clerics and Rowhani insist the festival will take place, experts said new infections would be unavoidable if the celebrations went ahead as usual.
However, as cancellation seemed unlikely, social distancing rules and mandatory mask wearing are to be enforced at the religious ceremony marking the death of Hussein, the third Shiite Imam.
Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
China’s Qingdao appoint Wu as head coach to replace Machin
Promoted Qingdao had terminated the contract of former Sevilla and Espanyol boss Machin last month after one of his relatives had tested positive for COVID-19, preventing the Spaniard from travelling to China to take up the job.
The club confirmed the appointment of Wu in a post.
Wu, who has had multiple spells as Shanghai boss, guided the team to the Chinese FA Cup title in 2017 and was appointed their technical director the following year.
The 59-year-old has also managed Zhejiang Greentown and had a brief stint as Shandong Luneng caretaker boss in 2012.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)