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Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-326897


The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic in southern Africa has been characterised by three distinct waves. The first was associated with a mix of SARS-CoV-2 lineages, whilst the second and third waves were driven by the Beta and Delta variants respectively1–3. In November 2021, genomic surveillance teams in South Africa and Botswana detected a new SARS-CoV-2 variant associated with a rapid resurgence of infections in Gauteng Province, South Africa. Within three days of the first genome being uploaded, it was designated a variant of concern (Omicron) by the World Health Organization and, within three weeks, had been identified in 87 countries. The Omicron variant is exceptional for carrying over 30 mutations in the spike glycoprotein, predicted to influence antibody neutralization and spike function4. Here, we describe the genomic profile and early transmission dynamics of Omicron, highlighting the rapid spread in regions with high levels of population immunity.

The South African Health News Service ; 2020(April), 2020.
Article in English | Africa Wide Information | ID: covidwho-1098446


AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT Abstract: Economic relief is on the cards for the most vulnerable in the country, as the President announces measures to ease the burdens faced by those in food-scarce households, and the unemployed.  President Cyril Ramaphosa announces an increase in social grants for the next six months. Child grants get an additional R300 in May, and R500 from June to October, while all other grants will get an increase of R250 for the next six months.  “Poverty and food insecurity have deepened dramatically in the course of just a few weeks. To reach the most vulnerable families in the country, we have decided on a temporary six- month coronavirus grant,” he says.  Ramaphosa addressed the nation at the Union Buildings, Tshwane, on Tuesday evening. This briefing, about the country’s economic response during the coronavirus pandemic, comes after the President’s meeting with various parties, such as the National Coronavirus Command Council. In an attempt at easing the financial pressures the country is under, he announced a “massive social relief and economic support package of R500-billion.”

The South African Health News Service ; 2020(April), 2020.
Article in English | Africa Wide Information | ID: covidwho-1098444


AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT Abstract: A five-level system will dictate what lockdown regulations are in place, or which ones fall away. From 1 May, the country will be on level four — with some easing up of lockdown protocols.  President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that from 1 May, lockdown restrictions will be relaxed. In an address to the nation on Thursday evening, Ramaphosa said that this strategy will be implemented, with the easing of current lockdown restrictions.  “While a nationwide lockdown is probably the most effective means to contain the spread of the virus. It cannot be sustained indefinitely. Our people need to eat. They need to earn a living. Companies need to be able to produce and to trade. They need to generate revenue and keep their employees in employment,” he says

South African Health News Service ; 2020(April), 2020.
Article | Africa Wide Information | ID: covidwho-828983


AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT Abstract: As the government extends the lockdown until the end of April, it has put in place measures to respond to health, economic and social needs.  President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended the nationwide lockdown by 14 days in efforts to fight against the coronavirus (Covid-19).  Speaking at the Union Building on Thursday evening, Ramaphosa said that there is a need for government to prolong the lockdown until the end of April