The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
In Episode 63 of Inside Covid-19, some sage advice for us to cement lower spending habits enforced through the lockdown; research by UCT Professor Corné van Walbeek confirms the cigarette sales ban delivered awful unintended consequences; great news from the human trials of Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine, which is also being tested in SA; and undeterred by coronavirus panic, Durbanites led by Servest founder Kenton Fine secure the R3.8bn acquisition of a venerable Dutch IT services group. – Alec Hogg
In today’s Covid-19 headlines:
- South Africa experienced a ray of hope in its fight against the coronavirus on Tuesday when its officially measured active cases dropped for the first time since the pandemic hit. Although there were 8,170 new infections registered, recoveries on the day were almost 5,000 higher that this resulting in a decline in the national active infections from 173,500 to 168,300. South Africa’s active cases are still the fifth highest in the world, however, and with the virus spreading into previously less affected provinces, ***experts caution that it is too soon to celebrate. On the downside, the country reported its second highest deaths for any day, at 195, although this may also have been distorted through the catching up of significantly under-reported mortalities on Sunday and Monday. Progress in reducing death rates through medical treatment advances is clearly evident, however. Gauteng has reported 61% more infections but well under half the mortalities of the Western Cape, where the virus first took hold in South Africa.
- Some promising developments on the coronavirus vaccine front. In the UK, Oxford University’s development team at the Jenner Institute announced that clinical trials are showing that their vaccine does induce the desired reaction from the human immune system. Trials of the Oxford vaccine are also being conducted in South Africa by Wits University. Jenner Institute’s Director Prof Adrian Hill says the vaccine may be available before the end of the year, well ahead of most expectations. More on that story coming up. And across the water, our partners at the Wall Street Journal report that the US government today agreed to pay pharma group Pfizer and its partner BioNTech SE almost $2bn to secure 100 million doses of their experimental Covid-19 vaccine which will be given to Americans free of charge. This vaccine has shown promising preliminary tests in small groups of patients and is set to enter late-stage testing before the end of the month.
- GSH Private Capital, a UK-based investment company run by South Africans, has today became a notable outlier in a near paralyzed global business environment. The company, led by Servest founder Kenton Fine, has acquired the 133 year Dutch IT services multinational Getronics for almost R4bn.
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.