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SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa’s news leader.UK COVID-19 infections rise as ministers fret over second wave in EuropeFacebook smashes revenue estimates amid pandemic, forecasts ad growthJohnson & Johnson starts human study of COVID-19 vaccine after promising monkey dataAustralia confident Sydney virus cases under control, despite Melbourne outbreakSA records 11 046 new COVID-19 casesCORONAVIRUS: Your daily updateUS government to launch ‘overwhelming’ COVID-19 vaccine campaign by NovemberUK tightens lockdown in parts of Northern EnglandWHO urges countries to prioritise essential international travelIMF approves $171.9 mln to Madagascar to address COVID-19 pandemic

https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews Africa’s News Leader Fri, 31 Jul 2020 02:21:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/uk-covid-19-infections-rise-as-ministers-fret-over-second-wave-in-europe/ Fri, 31 Jul 2020 02:20:49 +0000

UK COVID-19 infections rise as ministers fret over second wave in Europe

Britain reported its highest number of new COVID-19 infections in more than a month on Thursday, as ministers fretted about a second wave of cases in Europe and warned more quarantine restrictions were possible.

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Britain reported its highest number of new COVID-19 infections in more than a month on Thursday, as ministers fretted about a second wave of cases in Europe and warned more quarantine restrictions were possible.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said COVID-19 was under some measure of control in Britain, but a resurgence in some European countries showed the pandemic was not over.

“It is absolutely vital as a country that we continue to keep our focus and our discipline, and that we don’t delude ourselves that somehow we are out of the woods or that that is all over, because it isn’t all over,” he said.

Reflecting rising cases in some European countries, Britain has already reimposed a 14-day quarantine period on people arriving from Spain, a move that caused havoc with the reopening of the continent for tourism in the summer high season.

Luxembourg was added to the quarantine list on Thursday, with all arrivals ordered to self-isolate for 14 days, starting at 1100 GMT.

Earlier, British Health Minister Matt Hancock stopped short of saying which European countries might end up back on the quarantine list, but cited France as an example of one where infections have lately risen.

“I am worried about a second wave. I think you can see a second wave starting to roll across Europe, and we’ve got to do everything we can to prevent it from reaching these shores, and to tackle it,” Hancock said during an interview on Sky News.

When asked whether Britons should be prepared for more measures to be announced within the next few days, he said yes.

“The number of cases have gone up sharply in some countries in Europe … France now has more cases than we do, per day, and in Spain we saw the numbers shoot up which is why we had to take the rapid action that we did,” Hancock said on Talk Radio.

France reported almost 1 400 new cases on Wednesday, the highest daily increase in more than a month.

Hancock said the authorities were working on possible ways to shorten the quarantine period for people coming from Spain, such as by testing them during the quarantine period.

“But we are not imminently making an announcement on it,” he said in a BBC television interview.

An analysis from Britain’s statistics office showed on Thursday that the country has suffered the highest rate of excess deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic in a comparison of 21 European countries.

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SABC News An analysis from Britain’s statistics office showed on Thursday that the country has suffered the highest rate of excess deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic in a comparison of 21 European countries. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/facebook-smashes-revenue-estimates-amid-pandemic-forecasts-ad-growth/ Fri, 31 Jul 2020 01:58:08 +0000

Facebook smashes revenue estimates amid pandemic, forecasts ad growth


Facebook Inc beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly revenue on Thursday and forecast similar growth ahead, as businesses tapped its digital ads tools despite an unprecedented boycott and the economic upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Facebook Inc beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly revenue on Thursday and forecast similar growth ahead, as businesses tapped its digital ads tools despite an unprecedented boycott and the economic upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic.

Facebook shares jumped 7% in extended trading after the world’s biggest social network posted revenue growth of 11%, its slowest ever but still far above analysts’ expectations of 3%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Ad sales, which contribute nearly all of Facebook’s revenue, rose 10% to $18.3 billion in the second quarter as people under lockdown spent more time online and businesses rapidly pivoted to e-commerce. Monthly active users rose to 2.7 billion, ahead of estimates of 2.6 billion.

The results were a boon for Facebook a day after its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, took sharp jabs in a US congressional hearing. Zuckerberg was among four top tech CEOs who were grilled by lawmakers on alleged abuses of market power.

On a call with investors Thursday, Facebook executives sounded notes of defiance about both demands for aggressive regulation and the July advertising boycott, which sought to pressure Facebook to take more action against hate speech.

Zuckerberg said he was “troubled” by calls to “go after” targeted advertising online. “This would reduce opportunities for small businesses so much that it would probably be felt at a macroeconomic level. Is that really what policymakers want in the middle of a pandemic in recession?”

He also pushed back on the boycott’s aims, saying there was a gulf between “how the vast majority of people actually experience our services and the impression you get if you’re just reading much of the commentary about Facebook.”

The company appeared unscathed by the campaign, which drew the support of major advertisers including Unilever, Starbucks Corp and Coca-Cola Co.

Facebook said ad sales in the first three weeks of July grew 10% year-over-year, in line with the rate for the second quarter, and projected that ad revenue growth in the third quarter would be consistent with that, likewise faster than Wall Street estimates.

About 1 100 companies joined the boycott. Although some were among Facebook’s biggest individual spenders, the bulk of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from small businesses.

Zuckerberg said observers “wrongly assume that our business is dependent on a few large advertisers.”

Investors were bracing for difficulties in the second quarter, which was the first to reflect the full impact of virus-related lockdowns. Facebook said in April it was seeing signs of stability for sales in the first three weeks of the quarter after a plunge in March.

Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer, said she believed Facebook unit Instagram played a “major role” in helping the company withstand the effects of the pandemic.

“Although Facebook doesn’t release details about Instagram’s revenue, we believe that Instagram has been a rapidly growing contributor to the company’s total revenue, and that its success is helping to buoy Facebook as a whole,” she said.

The company fared better than Alphabet Inc’s Google, the world’s biggest seller of online ads, which beat expectations but not by a fantastic amount. Alphabet’s quarterly sales fell for the first time in its 16 years as a public company.

Facebook tempered expectations for later in the year, saying privacy changes being introduced by mobile device makers like Apple could hinder the data sharing it uses to serve personalized ads.

Such “aggressive platform policies” could “cut a lifeline” for small businesses, Facebook’s chief financial officer, David Wehner, cautioned.

Total costs and expenses increased 4% to $12.7 billion in the second quarter, compared with the $12.5 billion analysts had forecast. The company was still recruiting aggressively, adding 4,200 new hires in the quarter, its most on record.

Net income came in at $5.2 billion, or $1.80 per share, in the three months ended June 30. A year earlier it earned $2.6 billion, reflecting a $2 billion charge related to a privacy settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

Analysts had expected a profit of $1.39 per share.

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SABC News Facebook shares jumped 7% in extended trading after the world’s biggest social network posted revenue growth of 11%, its slowest ever but still far above analysts’ expectations of 3%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/johnson-johnson-starts-human-study-of-covid-19-vaccine-after-promising-monkey-data/ Fri, 31 Jul 2020 01:29:33 +0000

Johnson & Johnson starts human study of COVID-19 vaccine after promising monkey data


 Johnson & Johnson on Thursday kicked off US human safety trials for its COVID-19 vaccine after releasing details of a study in monkeys that showed its best-performing vaccine candidate offered strong protection in a single dose.

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Johnson & Johnson on Thursday kicked off US human safety trials for its COVID-19 vaccine after releasing details of a study in monkeys that showed its best-performing vaccine candidate offered strong protection in a single dose.

When exposed to the virus, six out of six animals who got the vaccine candidate were completely protected from lung disease and five out of six were protected from infection as measured by the presence of virus in nasal swabs, according to the study published in the journal Nature.

“This gives us confidence that we can test a single-shot vaccine in this epidemic and learn whether it has a protective effect in humans,” Dr. Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The drug-maker said it had started early-stage human trials in the United States and Belgium and would test its vaccine candidate in more than 1 000 healthy adults aged 18 to 55 years, as well as adults aged 65 years and older.

The US government is backing J&J’s vaccine effort with $456 million (350.8 million pounds) in funding as part of a spending spree aimed at speeding production of a vaccine to end the pandemic, which has infected millions and killed more than 660 000 people.

Stoffels said prior tests of this type of vaccine in other diseases found that a second shot significantly increases protection. But in a pandemic a single-shot vaccine has a significant advantage, sidestepping a lot of the logistical issues involved in getting people to come back for their second dose.

The company plans to take up the question of one or two doses in its phase 1 trial.

Depending on those results, J&J plans to start large-scale, phase 3 testing with a single-shot regimen in the second half of September. Around the same time, the company will start a parallel phase 3 study testing a two-shot regimen of the vaccine, Stoffels said.

“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is exciting because it’s a single dose,” White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Deborah Birx said in an interview with Fox News.

Having one dose “show protection in monkeys like the other vaccines have shown with two doses does shorten the time period for development because your readout becomes 30 days quicker,” she said.

J&J’s vaccine uses a common cold virus known as adenovirus type 26, or Ad26, to ferry coronavirus proteins into cells in the body, causing the body to mount an immune defense against the virus.

In the monkey study, scientists from J&J and Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center studied seven different potential vaccines in 32 animals and compared the results to 20 control animals who got placebo shots.

Six weeks later, all of the animals were exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. All 20 animals that received the placebo developed high levels of virus in their lungs and nasal swabs.

In the best-performing candidate, which J&J selected for human testing, none of the animals had virus in their lungs and only one showed low levels of virus in nasal swabs. Lab tests showed they all had developed antibodies capable of neutralizing the virus after a single shot.

“This study shows that even just a single immunization with the Ad26 vaccine leads to neutralizing antibody responses and robust protection of monkeys against COVID-19,” said Dr. Dan Barouch, a vaccine researcher at Beth Israel Deaconness who led the research in collaboration with J&J.

J&J shares were up nearly 2% at $149.93 before the market open on Thursday.

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SABC News J&J’s vaccine uses a common cold virus known as adenovirus type 26, or Ad26, to ferry coronavirus proteins into cells in the body, causing the body to mount an immune defense against the virus. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/australia-confident-sydney-virus-cases-under-control-despite-melbourne-outbreak/ Fri, 31 Jul 2020 00:20:11 +0000

Australia confident Sydney virus cases under control, despite Melbourne outbreak


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday he was confident a coronavirus flare-up in Sydney, the country’s biggest city, was under control but acknowledged the larger spike in cases in Melbourne remained a challenge.

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday he was confident a coronavirus flare-up in Sydney, the country’s biggest city, was under control but acknowledged the larger spike in cases in Melbourne remained a challenge.

The state of Victoria, whose capital Melbourne is under are imposed six-week lockdown, reported a record 723 new infections on Thursday. The state now accounts for more than half of the country’s 190 deaths from the novel coronavirus.

“The level of community outbreak and community transmission in Victoria is the great challenge down there,” Morrison said on 2GB radio. “And there’s still a lot of work to do and we’re not on top of it yet.”

Morrison said New South Wales, home to Sydney, had contained the spread of the virus from outbreaks at pubs, restaurants and aged care homes thanks to much better contact tracing than in Victoria.

“The key difference is that in New South Wales … there are no cases that have an unknown source. None,” he said, noting that Victoria has had around 50 cases a day with no known source.
“That is one of the key reasons we feel much more confident in New South Wales,” he said.

Morrison urged Muslims who will be celebrating the Eidal-Adha festival starting on Friday to stay away from big gatherings. Victoria’s outbreaks since June have been partly linked to family gatherings after the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

“At times like this, it’s even more important that we don’t gather in those large groups, that as important as faith is,that we really do think of the health issues here,” he said.

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SABC News The state of Victoria, whose capital Melbourne is under are imposed six-week lockdown, reported a record 723 new infections on Thursday. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/sa-records-11-046-new-covid-19-cases/ Thu, 30 Jul 2020 22:45:40 +0000

SA records 11 046 new COVID-19 cases


South Africa has recorded 11 046 new COVID-19 cases with 315 new COVID-19 related deaths reported in the last 24 hours.

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South Africa has recorded 11 046 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the cumulative number to 482 169 confirmed cases.

315 new COVID-19 related deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours with 121 from Eastern Cape, 96 from Gauteng, 55 from KwaZulu-Natal, 34 from Western Cape and 9 from North West.

This brings the cumulative number of deaths to 7 812.

The total number of tests conducted to date is 2 918 049 with 44 886 new tests conducted since the last report.

The number of recoveries currently stands at 309 601 which translates to a recovery rate of 64%.

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SABC News The number of recoveries currently stands at 309 601 which translates to a recovery rate of 64%. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/tracking-the-coronavirus/ Thu, 30 Jul 2020 21:59:42 +0000

CORONAVIRUS: Your daily update


The COVID-19 global statistics show an increase in the number of infections across the world.

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The number of coronavirus cases across the world is increasing rapidly.

Below are the stats for South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world as at 30 July 2020:

SouthAfrica’s latest COVID-19 confirmed cases as of 30 July stand at 482 169 with 11 046 new cases identified confirmed cases recorded in the past 24 hours. The country has registered 315 new COVID-19 related deaths. 121 from Eastern Cape, 96 from Gauteng, 55 from KwaZulu Natal, 34 from Western Cape and 9 from North West. This brings
the cumulative number of deaths to 7 812. The number of recoveries currently stands at 309 601 which translates to a recovery rate of 64%.

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Below is Africa’s latest COVID-19 stats:

Global coronavirus update: 

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SABC News https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/us-government-to-launch-overwhelming-covid-19-vaccine-campaign-by-november/ Thu, 30 Jul 2020 21:55:08 +0000

US government to launch ‘overwhelming’ COVID-19 vaccine campaign by November


The Trump administration anticipates launching a far-reaching promotions campaign by November to encourage Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus,contingent on evidence that a successful vaccine will be available roughly by year end, a senior administration official said.

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The Trump administration anticipates launching a far-reaching promotions campaign by November to encourage Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus,contingent on evidence that a successful vaccine will be available roughly by year end, a senior administration official said.

The campaign will likely be compressed into a short period of time, around four to six weeks, to eliminate any lag between when Americans are alerted to the vaccine and then they can get vaccinated, the official said during a press conference.

“The fine line we are walking is getting the American people very excited about vaccines and missing expectations versus having a bunch of vaccines in the warehouse and not as many people want to get it,” the official said.

“You may not hear a lot about promoting vaccines over the airwaves in August and September but you’ll be overwhelmed by it come November.”

The official cautioned that there is still uncertainty around the timing of when a vaccine will actually be available. Doses could be available as early as October or as late as January, he said.

He also added that the details of the communications campaign will vary based on which subsets of the population the vaccines prove most likely to benefit, which will be determined as data reads out from ongoing clinical trials.

Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc launched two 30 000-subject trials of COVID-19 vaccines on Monday that could clear the way for regulatory approval and widespread use by the end of this year.

British drug-maker AstraZeneca Plc said it will begin large-scale US trials this summer of its vaccine.

The US government has begun preparing to distribute the vaccines, including talking to private companies about developing technology to track their deployment and monitor who has received them.

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SABC News British drug-maker AstraZeneca Plc said it will begin large-scale US trials this summer of its vaccine. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/uk-tightens-lockdown-in-parts-of-northern-england/ Thu, 30 Jul 2020 21:33:25 +0000

UK tightens lockdown in parts of Northern England


UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said late on Thursday that the COVID-19 lockdown in parts of Northern England will be tightened, owing to an increasing rate of transmission in these areas.

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UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said late on Thursday that the COVID-19 lockdown in parts of Northern England will be tightened, owing to an increasing rate of transmission in these areas.

“So from midnight tonight, people from different households will not be allowed to meet each other indoors in these areas,”Hancock said on Twitter.

The areas include Greater Manchester, parts of West Yorkshire and East Lancashire, he added.Earlier on Thursday, Britain reported its highest number of new COVID-19 infections in more than a month, as ministers fretted about a second wave of cases in Europe and warned more quarantine restrictions were possible.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said COVID-19 was under some measure of control in Britain, but a resurgence in some European countries showed the pandemic was not over.

Official data on Thursday showed 846 new positive tests in Britain – the highest number of daily infections since June 28.

Earlier, Hancock said that the number of coronavirus cases in Britain is no longer falling and is at best flat.

“I am worried about a second wave. I think you can see a second wave starting to roll across Europe, and we’ve got to do everything we can to prevent it from reaching these shores, and to tackle it,” Hancock said during an interview on Sky News.

Separately, on Thursday, Britain extended its self-isolation period for people who test positive or show symptoms of COVID-19 to 10 days from seven.

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SABC News Official data on Thursday showed 846 new positive tests in Britain – the highest number of daily infections since June 28. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/who-urges-countries-to-prioritise-essential-international-travel/ Thu, 30 Jul 2020 21:11:56 +0000

WHO urges countries to prioritise essential international travel


The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday said countries should gradually lift international travel measures based on a thorough risk assessment and must prioritise essential travel for emergencies.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday said countries should gradually lift international travel measures based on a thorough risk assessment and must prioritise essential travel for emergencies.

The WHO recommends that priority should be given to essential travel for emergencies, humanitarian actions, travel of essential personnel, and repatriation, it said in a statement.

A surge of new infections around the world has forced many countries to reimpose some travel restrictions in recent days.

The WHO has now urged each country to conduct a risk-benefit analysis of its own and decide on its priorities, before resuming international travel.

Earlier this week, the WHO said that bans on international travel cannot stay in place indefinitely, and countries are going to have to do more to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus within their borders.

It said last month that it would update its travel guidelines ahead of the northern hemisphere summer holidays.

Earlier in July, the organization urged travellers to wear masks on planes and keep themselves informed as COVID-19 cases surge again in some countries.

The WHO’s previous guidance for travellers has included common-sense advice applicable to other settings such as social distancing, washing your hands and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

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SABC News The WHO has now urged each country to conduct a risk-benefit analysis of its own and decide on its priorities, before resuming international travel. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/imf-approves-171-9-mln-to-madagascar-to-address-covid-19-pandemic/ Thu, 30 Jul 2020 20:48:20 +0000

IMF approves $171.9 mln to Madagascar to address COVID-19 pandemic


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved $171.9 million of funding to Madagascar, it said on Thursday, bringing the total COVID-19 emergency support to the country to $337.9 million as the island nation’s economy struggles due to the pandemic.

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved $171.9 million of funding to Madagascar, it said on Thursday, bringing the total COVID-19 emergency support to the country to $337.9 million as the island nation’s economy struggles due to the pandemic.

It is the IMF’s second emergency disbursement to Madagascar since the onset of the pandemic and will help finance the country’s “urgent balance of payments and fiscal needs.”

Madagascar’s economy continues to deteriorate since the release of the first funding under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) in April, the IMF said in the statement.

“Madagascar’s economic outlook has worsened … due to a further deterioration of the global environment and a deepening of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.

Economic output was now projected to contract by 1% in 2020,while the country’s balance of payments needs have also surged on the back of financing demands required to curb the COVID-19 outbreak.

Madagascar has confirmed 10 317 cases of the coronavirus and reported 99 deaths with more than 7 100 recoveries, according to a Reuters tally.

A nationwide state of health emergency was instituted in March and authorities reimposed a lockdown in the capital and surrounding areas two weeks ago to contain the virus’spread.

President Andry Rajoelina has said he and his family had been taking “Covid Organics,” the country’s self-proclaimed,plant-based “cure” for COVID-19 launched in April, despite warnings from the World Health Organisation that its effectiveness is unproven.

The funding released on Thursday is expected to help the country meet healthcare and economic relief spending, said Antoinette Sayeh, the IMF’s deputy managing director.

Some of the sectors of Madagascar’s economy hard-hit by the novel coronavirus outbreak include tourism and export-oriented manufacturing.

“In the context of a high degree of uncertainty, more support may be needed to ease the adjustment burden,” she said.

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SABC News Madagascar’s economy continues to deteriorate since the release of the first funding under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) in April, the IMF said in the statement.

Source: sabcnews