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Dhaka Tribune

One in two South Africans infected by Covid-19

Samples taken from almost 5,000 blood donors across four South African provinces in January showed that between 32% and 63% had antibodies to the coronavirus

Update : 18 Feb 2021, 08:31 PM

Around half of South Africa's population may have already been infected by coronavirus, a figure far higher than the documented tally, a study and analysis of death figures suggest.

Samples taken from almost 5,000 blood donors across four South African provinces in January showed that between 32% and 63% had antibodies to the coronavirus.

The figure compares with clinically confirmed case rates of just 2% to 3%, according to South African research that was released online last week, but has not yet completed peer review.

The numbers could be understated, said lead investigator Marion Vermeulen of the South African National Blood Service.

US variant study 

US President Joe Biden's administration is investing nearly $200 million to increase sequencing of virus variants by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from about 7,000 samples per week to approximately 25,000.

Static Lunar New Year 

Tens of millions of people in China stayed put during this year's Lunar New Year holiday - the world's largest annual migration - as passenger traffic more than halved.

Town-wide trial 

The Brazilian town of Serrana begins vaccinating its entire adult population of some 30,000 in an unprecedented campaign meant to allow authorities to analyse the impact of immunisation on the pandemic.

Sinovac green light 

Hong Kong approves the Chinese Sinovac jab for emergency use after a panel of experts fast-tracks its recommendation despite its relatively low efficacy rate of 62.3%.

Soldiering on 

Pentagon officials report about one-third of the US military is declining to get vaccinated despite significant infection levels in the forces.

2.43 million deaths 

The virus has caused at least 2,430,693 deaths since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP on Thursday.

The United States is the worst-affected country with 490,550 deaths, followed by Brazil with 242,090, Mexico with 177,061, India with 156,014 and Britain with 118,933.

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