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JUST IN: SA added to British red list as UK investigates new variant

The British government is taking decisive precautionary action against a new COVID-19 variant by introducing travel restrictions on arrivals from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia from midday tomorrow (Friday 26 November).

It comes as Variant B.1.1.529 is declared a Variant under Investigation (VuI) by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

The variant includes a large number of spike protein mutations as well as mutations in other parts of the viral genome. These are potentially biologically significant mutations which may change the behaviour of the virus with regards to vaccines, treatments and transmissibility. More investigation is required.

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In The News

Ramaphosa on the power crisis in SA

Ramaphosa replied to questions in the National Assembly.

“The recent load shedding – which has disrupted daily life for millions of South Africans and caused great damage to our economy – is a stark reminder of the severe and intractable challenges in our electricity system,” Ramaphosa said.

“Load shedding is always the last resort where demand for electricity is greater than what can be produced. It is necessary to prevent the collapse of the power grid and a complete blackout.”

“At its core, load-shedding is the inevitable consequence of the age of many of Eskom’s power plants and its inability over many years – due to debt, lack of capacity and state capture – to service its power plants.”

“Eskom has to undertake the fundamental maintenance that is necessary to improve the reliability of our electricity supply.”

“As it continues with maintenance, load-shedding will remain a possibility for the immediate future.”
 “But we are not simply waiting for the inevitable. We are working hard to fix this problem.”

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Photo: Flickr / GCIS

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In The News

New COVID-19 variant detected in SA

Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, has confirmed that a new COVID-19 variant has been detected in South Africa.

The Minister, who was speaking during a media briefing on Thursday, believes that the new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.529, may have been tied to the recent cluster outbreaks in Gauteng.

“You can be rest assured that as people move in the next coming weeks, this [variant] will be all over,” Phaahla warned.

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In The News

Ramaphosa set to address the power crisis in National Assembly

President Cyril Ramaphosa will later today, Thursday, 25 November 2021 at 14h00, outline to the National Assembly government’s roadmap towards the revitalisation of Eskom as part of the broader transformation of South Africa’s energy industry.

The President’s update to Parliament will form part of his responses to questions Members of Parliament have submitted for oral reply by the President.

On energy, the President will respond to questions relating to the economic impact of load shedding and South Africa’s approach to the R131 billion commitment by the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the European Union to support South Africa’s just transition to a lower carbon economy.

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Photo: Flickr / GCIS

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Worldwide

World Student Christian Federation reiterates calls for climate justice

The World Student Christian Federation has been involved in climate justice advocacy as part of its Ecological Justice Global Program since 2015. Many activities have been done in COP-related frameworks, particularly related to ecumenical delegations and interfaith coordination.

This comes as the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (The federation was part of the ecumenical coalition for climate justice that attended the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference. 

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Photo: WCC

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In The News

Gauteng’s Covid-19 continue to rise, as 14 million people fully jabbed

Gauteng accounted for 605 of the 868 new COVID-19 infections that were recorded on Tuesday.

This comes as the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) flagged a peak in the seven-day moving average in new COVID-19 cases in the province. 

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Photo: Flickr / GCIS

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Media Room

WCC: We are aware that almost all the world’s steepest challenges have an interreligious dimension

As the Bridge Builder Awards were presented in a ceremony in Oslo, interreligious peacemakers stood together to be recognized for their vital work in raising the values of respect, love, and tolerance for each other.

The award was presented by the Jury of the 14th August Committee Norway together with The Oslo Center.

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Photo: Ole Christian Eklund

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In The News

Health Department adds antigen tests to country’s official COVID-19 stats

The Department of Health has announced that rapid antigen tests will now be included in the COVID-19 statistics with effect from Tuesday.  

Initially, all COVID-19 positive cases were diagnosed through the “gold standard” of a laboratory-confirmed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

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In The News

SAHRC condemns blame of foreign nationals for “noodles deaths”

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has condemned social media reports suggesting that the death of children after they consumed noodles can be ascribed to “tampering” on the part of foreign nationals.

This after at least five children died after consuming the popular food item in two separate incidents in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.

“The commission reminds the public that official sources, being the Department of Health and South African Police Services, are still investigating the possible contamination. At this stage, there is no evidence to suggest any possible tampering or any link with foreign owned businesses. Should there be cause for concern, the authorities will communicate this,” the commission said in a statement.

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Worldwide

National Council of Churches in Korea holds 70th General Assembly

Speakers explored, among other topics, the connection between this theme and that of the upcoming World Council of Churches (WCC) 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany in September 2022.

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Photo: WCC