South Africa’s third wave of Covid-19 is behaving in “an unpredictable manner”, said Joe Phaala, health minister. The new case trajectory showed an initial steep downward trend after July 9, but had risen since August 13. Average positivity is 19-20 per cent, “very far from the WHO-recommended 5 per cent”.
Authorities in the Philippines said they hope the country’s first local vaccine manufacturing site would be established this year. Maria Rosario Vergeire, health undersecretary, said the government was negotiating with potential partners in China, India, the US, South Korea and Australia.
Norwegians who have been infected with Covid-19 will receive an exemption from quarantine for a year instead of six months. “We now have good knowledge that indicates that people who have had Covid-19 are well protected for at least 12 months,” said Bent Høie, health minister.
The state of South Australia has granted more than A$57m ($42m) in the past month to thousands of small and medium businesses affected by Covid-19 restrictions. Nearly 20,000 operations, including restaurants, hotels, gyms and hairdressers, have received A$3,000 and A$1,000 cash payments.
Australia’s remote Northern Territory has welcomed a proposal by Qantas Airways to establish Darwin as a first stop for flights from London during the pandemic. “From the Top End to Tower Bridge – it’s exciting to think of the possibilities of a direct Darwin-London flight,” said chief minister Michael Gunner.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said it would provide $50m to Turk Ekonomi Bankasi to help the Turkish private lender diversify its pandemic-hit trade finance business, raise limits and lengthen maturities. EBRD said it had offered a record €3.3bn in trade finance in 2020.
Digital payment company WiPay said it would provide J$4m ($260,000) in Covid-19 relief grants to Jamaica’s neediest families. The Trinidad and Tobago-based financial company, which last week opened its first office in Jamaica, said the grants would be disbursed through Food For the Poor.
Scientists in Uzbekistan are developing an edible Covid-19 vaccine, the Central Asian nations’ innovative development ministry statement said on Friday. The vaccine, developed from tomato plants, “enters the intestine through the stomach and stimulates the immune system”, a statement said.