South Africa halted Monday’s planned rollout of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccinations after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild infection from one variant, stoking fears of a much longer cat-and-mouse battle with the pathogen. Researchers from the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Oxford said in a prior-to-peer analysis that the AstraZeneca vaccine provided minimal protection against mild or moderate infection from the South African variant among young people.
South Africa’s COVID-19 spike has taken the country to more than 1 million confirmed cases on Sunday and President Cyril Ramaphosa called an emergency meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council. The country’s new variant of the coronavirus, 501.V2, is more contagious and has quickly become dominant in many areas of the resurgence, according to experts.
South Africa will immediately re-enforce a ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol to reduce the volume of trauma patients so hospitals have more beds open to treat COVID-19 patients, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said. Confronted by surging hospitalizations because of the coronavirus outbreak, South Africa also reinstated a nighttime curfew to reduce traffic accidents and made it mandatory for all residents to wear face masks when in public.
South Africa has temporarily closed its embassy in Nigeria following violence against South African businesses in reprisal for attacks on foreign-owned stores in Johannesburg, while Nigeria has announced plans to evacuate its nationals from South Africa. The announcement, which signals worsening diplomatic relations between the two African countries, comes after Nigeria introduced plans to evacuate its nationals from South Africa following a wave of attacks on foreigners, including Nigerians.
More than 60 people have been killed in southern and eastern parts of South Africa after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides. Rescue workers were digging through collapsed homes and other buildings in coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal province, local officials said. The region has been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not anticipate the extent of the downpour late on Monday, said Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department.
After a formal request from the African National Congress party, South African President Jacob Zuma delivered an address to the nation, agreeing to resign from his position, Wednesday night, ending a period of scandal and mismanagement which threatened the undermining of Nelson Mandela’s liberation movement. Cyril Ramaphosa is now the country’s acting leader.
A two-year-old boy has been killed by a leopard in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The leopard managed to access a fenced off area of the park and grab the boy, who was the son of an employee. The park said in a statement that such attacks were “very rare”, but rangers killed the leopard to “remove the danger”.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa cut his visit to London short on Thursday to return home to address unrest in the North West province where demonstrators clashed violently with police. Protesters demanded the resignation of provincial Premier Supra Mahumapelo, a member of Ramaphosa’s leading African National Congress. The ‘service delivery protests’ have intensified over years.
After being trapped underground for more than 24 hours after a storm-caused power outage, more than 950 gold miners in South Africa were safely evacuated, Friday morning. The Sibanye-Stillwater company, which manages the mine, said food and water were delivered to miners while trapped. All evacuated miners will receive medical examinations and trauma counseling.
South Africans voted Wednesday in presidential and parliamentary elections, with signs of a relatively low turnout and voters saying they were disillusioned by widespread corruption and unemployment. Despite the demise of apartheid 25 years ago, South Africa remains divided by economic inequality. The African National Congress, the party of Nelson Mandela that has been in power since 1994, is likely to win a majority but it will face a difficult challenge to match the 62% of the vote it got five years ago.