South Africa’s second coronavirus wave has officially claimed another 210 lives with 95 deaths reported in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday and 70 in the Western Cape.
In a statement, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said this brings the official death toll to 23,661 deaths, with 7,552 new active cases confirmed.
A total of 36,347 tests were conducted in the 24-hour reporting period.
With 764,977 recoveries to date, South Africa has over just 85,000 active infections currently.
The new daily statistics come as the country debated new festive season regulations announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday evening, including the closure of beaches in hotspot areas, the Eastern Cape and on selected dates in KwaZulu-Natal.
On Tuesday, objections to the beach closures were raised by the Garden Route Municipality, the Great Brak Business Forum, lobby group AfriForum and the DA.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) December 15, 2020
The parties are concerned about the economic impact of the decision and questioned its rationality and constitutionality.
In a notice of motion filed in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday, the business forum and AfriForum stated their intention to have the amended Covid-19 Regulations 69(12)(a), (b), (c) and (d) declared unconstitutional. AfriForum said in a statement that limiting access to beaches, which were public property, amounted to the restriction of a basic human right.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde also added his voice in objection on Tuesday, saying the closure of Garden Route beaches should be reconsidered, as it would be a “devastating blow” to the region’s economy.
Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
– US at-home tests –
The United States authorises its first rapid at-home test for Covid-19, which is available over-the-counter for around $30 and produces a result in around 20 minutes.
– EU decision day –
The European Medicines Agency announces that it will meet on December 21 instead of December 29 to decide whether to authorise the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus jab for the EU. It maintains its January 12 date for a decision on the Moderna vaccine.
– US upbeat on Moderna jab –
The US Food and Drug Administration says there are “no specific safety concerns identified that would preclude issuance of an (emergency use authorisation)” for the Moderna jab.
– 1.6 million dead –
The novel coronavirus has killed at least 1,625,505 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP on Tuesday.
The US is the worst-affected country with 301,264 deaths, followed by Brazil with 181,835, India with 143,709, Mexico with 114,298 and Italy with 65,857.
– Low key US inauguration –
The crowd at the inauguration of Joe Biden as president of the United States at the US Capitol on January 20 will be far smaller than usual due to Covid-19, his inaugural committee says.
– Britain’s unemployment up –
Britain’s unemployment rate hits the highest level in four years, at 4.9 percent in the three months to the end of October, after the coronavirus pandemic wiped out a record amount of jobs.
– Vaccines for poor –
The World Health Organisation holds discussions with Pfizer and Moderna about possibly including their coronavirus vaccines among early jabs for poor countries at affordable prices.
– Denmark extends curbs –
Denmark’s government extends to the whole country coronavirus restrictions already in force in most municipalities and major cities from 4:00 pm on Wednesday.
– Ukraine clashes –
Around 40 police officers are injured during clashes with anti-lockdown protesters in Ukraine’s capital Kiev, during a rally attended by several thousand.
– Baltic roadblocks –
Police in Lithuania say they will set up 250 roadblocks nationwide to enforce a Christmas travel ban to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
– Rally Sweden cancelled –
The second leg of next season’s World Rally Championship (WRC) in Sweden on February 11-14 is called off due to local coronavirus restrictions.
Additional reporting by News24 Wire.