As South Africa eased into a new normal under level 1 of lockdown, citizens were urged to download a tracing app so that the country can avoid going into another strict lockdown. In this episode we hear from a wide range of experts* on how the Covid tracing app works, and why you have no reason to fear that your privacy is being compromised. And, our partner Wall Street Journal provides an update on where the US – which has the world’s biggest economy and its highest number of reported Covid-19 deaths – is in the vaccine race. Also in this episode, we speak to a nutritionist on the growing problem of malnutrition in the era of Covid-19. – Jarryd Neves & Jackie Cameron
Inside Covid-19 headlines
- As of the beginning of this week, the cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases is 661,211 with 1,555 new cases identified. This brings the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 15,953, with the Western cape and Gauteng reporting the highest number.
- European stocks plunged the most since July on concern over lockdowns, reports Bloomberg. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped as much as 3.1% and was down 2.9% by 3:05 p.m, on Monday. The FTSE 100 Index sank as much as 3.6% on signs London is heading for a second lockdown. Travel and leisure shares were the worst industry performers amid lockdown concerns, sinking more than 5%. “Virus resurgence is a clear reality check for market participants who have been somewhat complacent regarding the trajectory of the markets,” said Tradition strategist Stephane Ekolo. Earnings-per-share revisions are likely to deteriorate, he said. “All in all, it is a tug war between expectation and reality.”
- The US market also opened lower, which didn’t help the sentiment across Europe. The S&P 500 Index was down 2.3% in early trade on Wall Street. It has now fallen about 9% from a record high hit earlier this month.
- US deaths related to Covid-19 approached 200,000 and the nation’s new cases rose in line with a one-week average.
- In Europe, reports Bloomberg, Germany’s health minister said the trend of cases is “worrying” as the UK cautioned the rate of coronavirus infections could reach around 50,000 by mid-October. UK cases of Covid-19 are now at the highest levels since May. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will convene crisis talks on tackling the resurgent coronavirus, amid expectations that local restrictions could soon be extended to London. UK shares extended losses.
- India’s virus tally is approaching 5.5 million while Indonesia’s capital is adding thousands of beds to house patients as its health system struggles with record infections.
- The heads of Man Group Plc and Schroders Plc say the shift to working from home will become the new normal. Man expects to have about 10% of employees back in the office next week unless the government imposes new restrictions on London, Chief Executive Officer Luke Ellis said on Monday. The world’s biggest publicly traded hedge fund firm won’t even try to have more than about 70% of staff working in the office on any given day. At Schroders, about 20% of its employees are in the office now, and if that number rises to 50% in the future that would be “very positive,” CEO Peter Harrison said at the City Week event.
- Iceland’s Health Ministry ordered the closure of all pubs and nightclubs until Sept. 27. The decision comes after a number of infections were traced to pubs and karaoke bars in central Reykjavik. The nation registered 75 new cases on Friday, the highest since April 1, says Bloomberg.
- Ireland may widen restrictions after introducing new curbs in Dublin over the weekend, with three more counties where the virus is spreading quickly in focus. While the nature of the outbreaks will dictate how authorities respond, “restrictions will apply if that is the only mechanism to bring the disease back under control,” health ministry advisor Philip Nolan told RTE Radio.
- India added almost 87,000 cases to its virus tally Monday, pushing the total to nearly 5.5 million cases in the nation that already has the world’s second largest coronavirus outbreak. Deaths rose by 1,130 to cross 87,800, according to the India’s health ministry.
- China’s northeastern city of Changchun found coronavirus particles on the packaging of frozen squid tentacles from Russia, the local government said in a statement Sunday.
- Many New Zealanders will on Monday night taste freedom from all Covid-19 restrictions for a second time during the pandemic, after Jacinda Ardern removed all domestic rules for much of the country. Some restrictions will remain on the largest city, Auckland, for a further two weeks, although the rules will be eased somewhat as health officials said a cluster of cases in the city did not appear to have generated any fresh instances of the virus in the past week, reports The Guardian.
- Iran appears to be in the grip of a “third wave” of the coronavirus outbreak, with the number of new infections above 3,000 a day – as high as at any point since the virus first hit in February. Iran was one of the first countries to be struck by the virus outside China. Its officials brought the disease under a form of control by early May, but then experienced an increase at the start of June that drifted down to fewer than 1,600 new cases a day in late August.
*Dr Ryan Noach is the CEO of Discovery Health. Gaurang Tanna is the Head of Policy Co-ordination and Integrated Planning at the National Department of Health. Emma Sadleir is an expert on social media law and the founder and CEO of The Digital Law Company. Professor Wolfgang Preiser is the head of the division of Medical Virology at the University of Stellenbosch.