Covid-19 wrap: About '97%' of Covid-19 patients from private sector: Mkhize

19 March 2020 - 10:50
By TimesLIVE
Minister of health Zweli Mkhize said SA is in hard combat times.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux Minister of health Zweli Mkhize said SA is in hard combat times.

About '97%' of Covid-19 patients from private sector: Mkhize

Health minister Zweli Mkhize is worried about what would happen if the coronavirus started spreading through SA's vulnerable communities.

So far, the virus has mostly hit those who are middle-class citizens who can afford private health care.

At least 97% of the patients that have been diagnosed have been from the private sector. I don’t remember anyone that really came from a public hospital or public clinic,” said Mkhize.

SA can do 5,000 coronavirus tests a day: Mkhize

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday night that the country's National Health Laboratory Service currently had capacity to do 5,000 coronavirus tests a day - but that this was going to increase soon

.Quoting from a text message from the laboratory service's CEO, Dr Karmani Chetty, Mkhize said: "Right now we have capacity to do 5,000 tests per day. Tuesday we’ll be able to do 15,000 per day."

Number of Covid-19 cases will be 'much higher' by Friday: Mkhize

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said he was certain that by Friday the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in SA will be almost 200.

This was after the health department confirmed an announcement made by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday that there were 150 confirmed cases.

He said that the confirmed cases were registered at 8pm every night, and the cases reported the next day.

“We are quite certain by tomorrow [Friday] we would have gone much higher, probably just under 200,” Mkhize said at a meeting of the SA Medical Association on Thursday evening.

'We're in hard combat time': Mkhize

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday night that the country was in a "battle" against the coronavirus. He said that, previously, the country was looking at whether it was prepared and trying to look at the nature of the virus and its impact on the country.

He was speaking at a Q&A session with the South African Medical Association.

But now, he said: "We've passed that point. We're now in battle. We have to make do with whatever we've got. It's rapidly spreading ... and we must mobilise our forces to target this. We're in hard combat time."

However, he said that if the country was "focused and determined" then there could be an impact on reducing the number of cases and the numbers of fatalities.

"We don't want fatalities. We don't want a rapid spread," he said.

Members of the Military Emergencies Unit (UME) carry out a general disinfection at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat airport in El Prat de Llobregat on March 19, 2020.
Image: Josep LAGO / AFP Members of the Military Emergencies Unit (UME) carry out a general disinfection at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat airport in El Prat de Llobregat on March 19, 2020.

Government promises to help out small businesses hit by coronavirus

Are you a small-business owner whose business has been hard hit by the coronavirus and you are stressed about your business loans that must be repaid?

Don't worry — it is not all doom and gloom. The SA government will service your debt.

This is the commitment made by small business development minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni on Thursday.

But to qualify, you will have to prove a direct link between your inability to service your business loan and the coronavirus outbreak.

Italy reports 427 new coronavirus deaths, overtakes China's death toll

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy rose in the last 24 hours by 427 to 3,405, overtaking the total number of deaths so far registered in China, officials said on Thursday.

Thursday's figure represented a slight improvement on the day before, when Italy recorded 475 deaths.

Some 3,245 people have died in China since the virus first emerged there late last year. Italy's outbreak came to light in the north of the country on Feb. 21.

All aboard the night bus as UCT Covid-19 residence conflict ends

More than 350 students who live in University of Cape Town residences boarded free long-distance buses home on Thursday evening.

The six, 60-seaters were provided by UCT so students who had been asked to vacate their rooms in the battle against Covid-19 could go home.

The buses left at 6pm bound for cities in the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Government cracks whip on price hikes and stockpiling

If companies hike the price of basic food items, medical and hygiene supplies or stockpile goods, they could be liable to a fine of up to R1m or 10% of their annual turnover — or jail time of up to 12 months.

Trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel has announced that the government is cracking the whip over price manipulation, a dramatic rise in the cost of basic goods and anticompetitive behaviour amid the declaration of a national disaster in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.




iSimangaliso Wetland Park has taken the following steps to prevent the spread of Covid-19:

  • Issuing of permits for group gatherings in the park has been suspended. This will include gatherings such as weddings, public meetings etc. Permits already issued will be reviewed and may be revoked.
  • More stringent measures will be implemented during the upcoming Easter period. Safety monitors will work in partnership with other security agents at our beaches to ensure crowd control.
  • In the interest of public safety, visitors to the park will be subjected to hygiene protocol.
  • Travel of iSimangaliso staff outside of KZN is suspended; essential travel may only be approved by the CEO of iSimangaliso.

'I'd rather die than infect anyone else'

A KwaZulu-Natal make-up artist has posted a genuine and heartfelt account of her horrifying ordeal to get tested for the coronavirus after one of her clients tested positive.

Bonita Pillai, a 32-year-old make-up artist from Amanzimtoti, south of Durban, took to social media on Thursday and opened up about her experience, raising questions of whether SA is actually prepared to deal with the pandemic.


Bloemfontein Mediclinic reports first Covid-19 case in the Free State

The Free State apparently has its first confirmed case of Covid-19.

According to Mediclinic, a person who had reported to its Bloemfontein facility tested positive for the virus.


Second Virgin Active shuts its doors as member tests positive for Covid-19

The Virgin Active in Cresta, Johannesburg, shut its doors on Thursday after one of its members reportedly tested positive for Covid-19.

The gym sent a text message to its members saying the person tested positive on Wednesday. The member had visited the gym at the weekend.

This is the second Virgin Active gym to close in as many days. On Wednesday, the gym group reported that it had to shut its doors at Melrose Arch after a member tested positive for Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.


A homeless man holds up a sign outside Westminster underground station as the spread of Covid-19 continues, in London, Britain, on March 19 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Hannah McKay A homeless man holds up a sign outside Westminster underground station as the spread of Covid-19 continues, in London, Britain, on March 19 2020.

'It is not a negotiation - it's the law' - Bheki Cele's warning on ignoring new regulations

Police minister Bheki Cele has warned there will be no negotiating with those holding gatherings of more than 100 people, or shebeens and pubs selling alcohol beyond 6pm to more than the regulated 50 people.

Cele said officers would enforce the law under the state of national disaster.

The government has banned all public gatherings, even funerals, of more than 100 people to curb the spread of Covid-19.



LOL! The four stages of coming to terms with life during the 'Rona era

For those of us who are self-isolating, working from home and looking out our windows like sad children who’ve been grounded, welcome to the 'Rona era.

Our new, temporary age of enforced antisocialism is going to take some getting used to and, like grief, coming to terms with it comes in stages.



'It's unfair,' says restaurant industry as government imposes strict regulations

The restaurant industry says it does not have a clear picture of what exactly the newly gazetted alcohol curfew by the government in response to the coronavirus pandemic will entail for their operations.

Wendy Alberts, CEO of the Restaurants Association of South Africa, said though they understood the need to curb the spread of the virus, the felt the restrictions were unfair.


The government released its social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Image: www.health.gov.za The government released its social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Stellenbosch joins other municipalities in closing down public spaces

The Stellenbosch municipality has joined other municipalities in closing down public amenities and public spaces in an attempt to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

In a statement it said that all events and gathering applications where 100 people or more are expected had been cancelled. Municipal halls, sport grounds, multipurpose centres, picnic sites, community halls, swimming pools, nature reserves and other municipal amenities will also be closed until further notice. It added that driver's license testing and learner license testing will go ahead as scheduled "for now".


Expect delays to cellphone, car repairs as stock depletes due to Covid-19

Delays in repairs to electronic devices and vehicles are anticipated, as stock is set to deplete over time due to the coronavirus pandemic, an insurer has warned.

MiWay sent out a letter to its clients informing them of the effect of the pandemic on operations.



SA erecting emergency 40km fence at Beitbridge border to halt virus

A new 40km fence will be erected at the Beitbridge border post as one of the emergency measures that the government is implementing to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in SA.

Public works and infrastructure minister Patricia de Lille said the 1.8m-high fence would span 20km on each side of the border post, separating SA from Zimbabwe. The fence will cost R37.2m.


SA's confirmed cases of coronavirus rise to 150

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 has reached 150. This as the health department stated on Wednesday that the number of local transmissions was growing.

“The level of infections has now risen to 150 and that for us is concerning because that already tells us if you extrapolate that it could start rising in greater numbers,” Ramaphosa said on Thursday.


Ramaphosa asks religious leaders to help contain spread of coronavirus

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on religious leaders to assist the government in enforcing its ban on gatherings of more than 100 people across the country - even at funerals.

Addressing a meeting of representatives from all religious groupings to discuss their role in the government’s response to contain the coronavirus, Ramaphosa called on them to use their influence to assist efforts to contain the spread of the virus.


Global death toll from coronavirus tops 9,000: AFP tally

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 9,000 people across the globe, according to an AFP tally on Thursday based on official sources.

A total of 9,020 deaths were recorded as of 1100 GMT, with 4,134 in Europe and and 3,416 in Asia, where the outbreak first emerged in China in December.

With 712 more deaths reported in the past 24 hours and a total of 90,293 cases, Europe is now the region where Covid-19 is spreading the most rapidly.

- AFP


Israeli couple Roni Ben-Ari and Yonatan Meushar dance as they get married at Ein Hemed Forest Wedding Venue who are offering free, small scale weddings for young couples whose weddings cannot take place as planned due to restrictions imposed by the government to fight the coronavirus, in Ein Hemed, Israel, on March 18 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun Israeli couple Roni Ben-Ari and Yonatan Meushar dance as they get married at Ein Hemed Forest Wedding Venue who are offering free, small scale weddings for young couples whose weddings cannot take place as planned due to restrictions imposed by the government to fight the coronavirus, in Ein Hemed, Israel, on March 18 2020.

Hotel offers self-isolation rooms for South Africans returning from abroad

With fights stopped and tourist visas revoked, a Cape Town hotel has made a last-minute attempt to fill its beds.

As South Africans make their way home, Doubletree Hilton in Woodstock saw a lifeline that could keep the lights on at least for the next 14 days.

Its largest rooms are now being sold at a discount as “self-isolation units” for South Africans returning from abroad.


Joburg shuts zoo, stadiums, theatres

Johannesburg has cancelled all events approved by the city after a mayoral committee meeting on coronavirus interventions.

The city has also closed some of its public facilities.


Government is putting the following measures in place to fight Covid-19


Malema tells business leaders to put human lives ahead of profit

EFF leader Julius Malema has called on business leaders not to monetise the Covid-19 crisis.

Speaking after a meeting between President Cyril Ramaphosa and the leaders of political parties represented in parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, Malema said business leaders should put human lives first instead of trying to make money.

“We don’t want to see anyone taking advantage during this disaster, trying to steal from the poorest of the poor,” said Malema.


A man wearing a protective face mask and gloves leaves Snappy Snaps near Leicester Square tube station as the spread of the coronavirus continues, in London, Britain, on March 18 2020.
Image: REUTERS/John Sibley A man wearing a protective face mask and gloves leaves Snappy Snaps near Leicester Square tube station as the spread of the coronavirus continues, in London, Britain, on March 18 2020.

Should you throw in the towel?

In these trying times, maintaining sanity in the form of self-care is crucial and for many this includes hitting the gym: a technically confined public space rife with potential infection by virtue of everyone sweating on everything.

So is it time to throw in the towel or can fitness fanatics continue to exercise without fear? A few of SA's major gyms attempt to set the record straight.


Italy reports 475 new deaths, highest one-day toll of any nation

Italy on Wednesday reported 475 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, the highest one-day official toll of any nation since the first case was detected in China late last year.

Total deaths in Italy have reached 2,978, more than half of all the cases recorded outside China, while the number of infections stood at 35,713.


Coronavirus keeps 500 million people home around the world

Some 500 million people have been subject to lockdown measures around the world because of the coronavirus outbreak that started in China and has quickly ballooned globally, according to an AFP count.

From China to the Czech Republic to Venezuela, governments have told their citizens to stay indoors to try to slow the spread of the pandemic.

Here are the populations affected.



WATCH | Ramaphosa laughing at Malema's threat to nationalise hospitals is everything

A video of President Cyril Ramaphosa laughing while EFF leader Julius Malema threatened to nationalise private hospitals has provided South Africans with some light relief.

The video was taken on Wednesday morning during a media briefing which followed a meeting between Ramaphosa and leaders of opposition parties.


SA Fashion Week to be digital

To curtail the spread of Covid-19, SA Fashion Week is switching to a digital-only showcase.

"We are swiftly moving to our Plan B for the upcoming Spring/Summer 2020 showcase: a climate-friendly, green-friendly, Covid-19 respectful, digital-only SA Fashion Week," read part of the statement from SAFW. 


Second UCT staff member tests positive for Covid-19

After shutting its doors on Monday in the wake of a staff member testing positive for Covid-19, the University of Cape Town confirmed on Thursday that a second positive case has been identified.

According to Elijah Moholola, speaking on behalf of UCT, “The staff member is now in self isolation for the next two weeks under supervision from the national department of health”.


The statue of Christ the Redeemer is lit up in the flags of the countries affected by the coronavirus outbreak in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 18 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Sergio Moraes The statue of Christ the Redeemer is lit up in the flags of the countries affected by the coronavirus outbreak in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 18 2020.

'We don't feel safe': Gauteng doctors on the front line against coronavirus

“I don’t feel safe as a doctor. The practice we are working from is [near] OR Tambo [International Airport] and a lot of the patients we see on a daily basis work at the airport.”

These are the words of a medical practitioner who works at a public hospital, where tests are done to detect Covid-19. She and other doctors TimesLIVE spoke to did not want to be named, fearing reprisal.


Nigeria bans entry to arrivals from 13 countries to combat coronavirus

Nigeria will from Saturday ban entry to arrivals from 13 of the countries worst affected by the coronavirus epidemic, the minister of interior said on Wednesday.

All the countries on the list, which includes the US, Britain, Germany, China, Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan, have reported more than 1,000 coronavirus cases.


Cruise ship free to sail from Cape Town after quarantine is lifted

Transnet has lifted the Covid-19 quarantine on two ships at Cape Town harbour, which are now free to depart.

More than 1,700 passengers and crew spent four days stuck aboard the Italian-flagged cruise ship AIDAmira pending screening tests on six passengers.



Coronavirus shuts down Cardi B SA gig

Cardi B's concert in SA has become the latest event to be postponed amid restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in SA.

The news was announced by concert organisers Castle Lite on Wednesday.


How to get #datafree information on coronavirus in SA

A cloud technology company is providing South Africans with no-data-cost access to the SA coronavirus website.

BiNu announced that its #datafree access will provide citizens with the latest information, resources and stats on the pandemic. This will counteract false information that is circulating.


Nando's weighs in on coronavirus with swipe at KFC: 'Finger licking good isn't good'

Fast food chain Nando's is on top of its game when it comes to current affairs.

It took to Twitter on Wednesday to call on customers to practice good hygiene by regularly washing their hands.

It did so in true Nando's style, with a pinch of wit and, of course, shade for its competitor, KFC, whose slogan is, “It's finger lickin' good”.


So, Pastor Mboro says God told him about coronavirus in 2019

Incredible Happenings Ministry leader Paseka “Pastor Mboro” Motsoeneng says God told him in 2019 that there would be an outbreak this year.

In a video shared on his Prophet Mboro Times Facebook page, Mboro said he prophesied about Covid-19 last year, after receiving a message from God.

“God said to me that this outbreak will happen this year, so it didn't take me by surprise, we've been preparing and praying.