30,967 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 643

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that there are now 30,967 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa.

This is an increase of 1,727 cases, from the 29,240 cases reported on Friday (29 May).

According to the minister the country has recorded a further 32 deaths, taking the total up to 643.

There have been 16,116 recoveries – a recovery rate of 52%.

Globally, the number of confirmed cases has now hit 5.9 million, with deaths almost at 365,000.

In a stunning move, US president Donald Trump said the US will terminate its relationship with the World Health Organisation, which he has accused of being too deferential to China and of failing to provide accurate information about the spread of the coronavirus.

The US as emerged as the hardest-hit nation in the world, with over 1.7 million recorded infections, and a death toll over 100,000.

The Trump administration has placed the blame for the global pandemic at the feet of China, and has criticised the WHO for not taking quicker action to prevent the spread of the virus.

“We have detailed reforms that they must make and engage with them directly, but they have refused to act,” Trump said Friday at the White House.

“We will be today terminating our relationship with the WHO.”

The US has historically been the WHO’s largest contributor, providing $400 million to $500 million in mandatory and voluntary contributions.

China vaccine progress

Trump’s announcement comes at the same time Chinese authorities have reported significant progress on a potential vaccine, Bloomberg reports.

A front-running Covid-19 vaccine candidate being developed in China is expected to be available as soon as the end of this year, according to a report published in the official Wechat account of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

The vaccine, jointly developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products and China National Biotec Group Co, has completed phase II testing and may be ready for the market at the end of this year or early next year, said the report.

The production line for the vaccine will be fully disinfected and closed in preparation for output to start Saturday, and will have a full manufacturing capacity of 100 million – 120 million vaccines each year.

Drugmakers are racing to develop a cure for the contagion that has so far killed at least 365,000 people.

More than 100 vaccines for the virus are being developed globally, but only a handful have made it to the crucial and final human clinical trial stage, with Chinese scientists leading the way.

In total, five vaccines developed by Chinese companies are being tested on humans, the most in any country. Beijing has mobilised its health authorities, drug regulators and research institutes to work around the clock with local companies to come up with the world’s first successful one for Covid-19.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised to share any successful vaccine globally, but Chinese companies still face challenges.

Phase III testing needs to be done in a place where the coronavirus is still spreading rapidly, and China’s cases have dwindled to a handful each day.

Also, an effective vaccine needs massive production capabilities in order to meet global distribution demands.

The vaccine candidate from Beijing Institute of Biological Products and China National Biotec Group employs a killed version of the novel coronavirus that can still trigger an immune response.

Such inactivated vaccines have been developed for many years to protect populations from diseases including polio and hepatitis.

While inactivated vaccines may be slower to develop initially, their familiar path to mass production might allow them to overtake shots made by newer, cutting-edge approaches.

With Bloomberg

Read: Can employees in South Africa withdraw from the workplace over Covid-19 concerns?

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30,967 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa as deaths climb to 643