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‘Leave the vaccination effort to the health professionals’ – ANC tells Winde

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Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has been told to leave the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to the health professionals rather than trying to acquire it independently from national government. 

During a briefing with Parliament’s health portfolio committee, Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo revealed that Winde had been in talks with vaccine suppliers to secure a potential ‘extra need for additional shots’. 

“The Premier, in his capacity as provincial commander of the council for COVID-19, has been engaging with suppliers and various other stakeholders with regard to the issue of vaccines We know for sure there will be a time where there might be an extra need to expand beyond some of the priorities the nation has provided for – and therefore, it is crucial we do that,” she said. 

Read more here. 

COVID-19 VACCINE: ANC SLAMS WINDE FOR ‘POPULISM AND OPPORTUNISM’ 

Western Cape leader of the ANC Cameron Dugmore released a statement advising Winde to refrain from “playing politics”.  

“I call on the Premier to leave the vaccination effort to the health professionals currently dealing with it. Don’t feel the need to appease DA leader John Steenhuisen: just do your job. You are much more effective when you ignore the DA’s petty politics,” the statement said. 

According to Dugmore, Provincial Head of Health Dr Keith Cloete serves on the National Health Task Team on Vaccination and explained how the process of procurement is working and encouraged cooperation with national government. Dugmore said Winde thereafter made mention of trying to secure vaccines for the province. 

“The Premier must do his job and show that he is not Steenhuisen’s lap dog. We are in this together. Vaccinations starting with our frontline health workers and eventually reaching 2/3 of the population [is] the greatest logistical operation ever undertaken. We need unity of purpose at this time when some people are spreading claims about various remedies and also trying to discredit the vaccination process itself,” said Dugmore. 

“We should add that the DA is grandstanding because the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines only deal with national governments and not with provinces,” he added. 

‘IT WOULD BE IRRESPONSIBLE TO SIT BACK AND DO NOTHING’ – WINDE

While Winde said the Western Cape Government is excited about national government procuring stock of 1.5 million vaccine doses for delivery in January and February, he said it is not enough for the general population. 

“It would therefore be irresponsible for our government, which does have a health competency under the Constitution, to sit back and do nothing. As part of our due diligence as a provincial government, we will, of course, accept vaccines if we are able to secure more of them,” said Winde in response to Dugmore’s statement. 

“This would not only be for the benefit of the Western Cape, but also for the country as a whole. South Africa faces an enormous challenge in securing vaccines after being late to order them, and any additional vaccines secured should be viewed as positive assistance to our national cause,” he added. 

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Kenya

489 Hospitalised as Covid-19 Cases Rise

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  • A total of 130 individuals have tested positive for Covid-19 from a sample size of 4,918 tested in the last 24 hours. This takes the cumulative confirmed positive cases to 100,323.

    Since the start of the pandemic, 1,167,409 samples have been tested for the virus across the country. From the positive cases, 115 are Kenyans while 15 are foreigners.

    88 are males while 42 are females.

    A medical practitioner dressed in protective gear at Coronavirus isolation and treatment facility in Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020.
    A medical practitioner dressed in protective gear at the Coronavirus isolation and treatment facility in Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020.
    Simon Kiragu
    Muhabarishaji.com

    The youngest of the cases is a 4-month-old infant while the oldest is aged 88 years.

    66 patients have been discharged after recovering from the virus. 24 are from various health facilities across the country while 42 are from the Home-Based Isolation and Care programme.

    The total recoveries now stand at 83,691.

    Unfortunately, 1 patients succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours bringing the total fatalities in the country to 1,744.

    Currently, 489 patients are admitted in various health facilities countrywide, while 1,353 are on Home Based Isolation and Care. 28 patients are in the Intensive Care Unit ( ICU ), 14 of whom are on ventilatory support and 13 on supplemental oxygen. 1 patient is under observation.

    Another 17 patients are separately on supplementary oxygen with 12 of them in the general wards and 5 in the High Dependancy Unit.

    In Counties, the cases have been distributed as follows; Nairobi 66 , Taita Taveta 18 , Mombasa 9 , Nakuru 6 , Narok 6 , Siaya 4 , Uasin Gishu 4 , Kiambu 4 , Kisii 4 , Kilifi 2 , Kisumu 1 , Bungoma 1 , Busia 1 , Kajiado 1 ,
    Kakamega 1 , Nyamira 1 and Nyandarua 1 .

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    Ireland

    Edwin Poots calls for action on Brexit plant and soil bans

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    A Stormont minister has urged the UK and Irish governments to take urgent action to address Brexit barriers to importing soils and plants into Northern Ireland.

    Agriculture minister Edwin Poots said the viability of the region’s agriculture and horticulture sectors is on the line as a consequence of new Irish Sea trading arrangements.

    The Northern Ireland Protocol, which governs the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is currently preventing the importation of certain plants, soil, plant products and seeds.

    Mr Poots had previously written to UK Environment Secretary George Eustice and Irish agriculture minister Charlie McConalogue on the problem.

    He said he has now raised it in an inter-ministerial group with ministers from England, Scotland and Wales.

    “As things stand, the implementation of the NI Protocol continues to prevent the marketing in NI of many plants, plant products and vegetable seeds from Great Britain (GB) that are of significant importance to the agriculture and horticulture sectors,” he said.

    “This includes the movement of soil from third countries, including where it is associated with plants.

    “The importance of allowing trade to continue is absolutely vital to the agriculture and horticulture sector’s viability and associated economic activity.

    “This is an urgent issue and will have significant impacts on important NI and ROI trade.

    “That is why I have written to both the UK Secretary of State George Eustice and Irish Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) Minister Charlie McConalogue to raise these concerns for immediate action.”

    Mr Poots has called on Environment Secretary George Eustice to act (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

    Mr Poots also insisted that a statutory rule (SR) passed in the Assembly in December to reflect the changes brought about by the protocol could not have been altered to prevent the introduction of the new arrangements.

    “The SR could not change the consequences of the Northern Ireland Protocol, as voted for by the Westminster Government,” he said.

    “The prohibition of the movement of soil from third countries, including where it is associated with plants, are mandatory obligations imposed by the protocol and the SR could not have changed that.”

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    Just In: SAHPRA to facilitate ‘controlled’ access programme for Ivermectin

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    The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) announced, on Wednesday 27 January 2021, that it would allow a controlled compassionate access programme for Ivermectin regarding the treatment of COVID-19. 

    SAHPRA previously said Ivermectin was not registered for human use, but it did occasionally grant Section 21 permits for the use of topical ivermectin as an unregistered product for the treatment of individual patients with conditions such as scabies or head lice. Otherwise, it has been used to treat animals. 

    IVERMECTIN: HERE’S THE LATEST UPDATE FROM SAHPRA

    SAHPRA CEO Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela, during a live media broadcast on Wednesday said 

    “The approach that we will be taking going forward is that we will facilitate a controlled, compassionate, access program for Ivermectin. This does not mean that our position changes around the lack of availability of scientific data, but we had to as a regulator have very in-depth discussions around the context which we find ourselves in with the pandemic with limited options being available,” she said. 

    “It’s on that basis that we’re saying that we will facilitate a controlled access programme that will enable us to monitor the use of this [Ivermectin] and to get the healthcare professionals reporting to us,” she added.  

    Semete-Makokotlela said a number of studies are saying; “we cannot say there is risk or significant benefit”.

    So while there’s not much detail on the access programme and what it will entail right now, SAHPRA will publish a framework of sorts in the next day or so that should leave us all feeling very well informed about the drug and how it could possibly battle COVID-19. 

    “The framework that we will be putting in place will be communicated and published in the next coming day or so. It will be an evolving framework,” she added.   

    This is a developing story, updates to follow. 

    PROFESSOR KARIM CLAIMS THE DRUG IS TOXIC FOR HUMANS  

    Professor Salim Abdool Karim, who has been one of the front runners in keeping us up to date with the pandemic, recently told Jacaranda FM that there’s no compelling case for Ivermectin. In fact, he labelled it as completely toxic for humans. Here’s what he had to say; 

    “It is quite important when we end up with cases rising and doctors feeling helpless, they want a miracle cure. I understand frustrations, I do, but I’m not sure why Ivermectin has been chosen. It might be that the drug works, yes, but it also may not. However, the evidence is flimsy and there is no compelling case.”

    “The studies are of a really poor quality. Looking at the scientific evidence, there’s no compelling case for this. The doctor who did the overall analysis has also said his evidence isn’t ‘sufficiently robust’. It has to be clearly stated that Ivermectin does not kill the virus: The amount of Ivermectin you need to kill the virus, will also kill you – it’s toxic to humans.”

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