COVID-19 WRAP | Day 5 - SA records 5 deaths, including a primary school teacher

31 March 2020 - 07:37 By Timeslive
Hundreds of Sassa beneficiaries quequed for hours to get their grands in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, not distancing or protecting themselves in the crowd.
Hundreds of Sassa beneficiaries quequed for hours to get their grands in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, not distancing or protecting themselves in the crowd.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

31 March 2020 21:21

Covid-19 claims life of 46-year-old Durban teacher

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) has paid tribute to a "wonderful" comrade who died on Tuesday due to Covid-19.

Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza told TimesLIVE that an Isipingo primary school teacher died on Tuesday after being admitted to a Durban hospital for the second time in two weeks. 

Caluza said she had spoken to the principal and the victim's family, who confirmed that she wasn't feeling well and was admitted to hospital for asthma two weeks ago, subsequently discharged and then readmitted. 

31 March 2020 - 21:10

ANC praises SANDF for 'simple measures' to ensure discipline

Despite calls for members of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) to be restrained when dealing with civilians during the ongoing national lockdown, the ANC in parliament has praised soldiers for what it called "simple measures to discipline community members".

The SANDF has come under criticism for forcing members of the public who are found outside their homes to do physical exercises. Videos emerged over the weekend of men doing push-up, squats and rolling in the mud as punishment for roaming the streets during the lockdown.

31 March 2020 - 20:14

SA crew leave cruise ship after testing negative for Covid-19

Six South African crew members aboard the Queen Mary 2 cruise liner disembarked on Monday.

The ship - which had 1,215 crew and 264 passengers on board - docked in Durban late on Monday afternoon.

The six South Africans disembarked and were taken immediately for testing and subsequent quarantine.

No one else was allowed off the vessel. 

31 March 2020 - 19:10

Gauteng's first Covid-19 death is a 79-year-old man from Krugersdorp

A 79-year-old man from Krugersdorp died on Monday at a private hospital on Gauteng's West Rand, becoming the province's first Covid-19 death.

He is one of five South Africans to have died from the illness.

“I wish to convey our heartfelt condolences and express our collective grief to the family and friends of the deceased,” said premier David Makhura on Tuesday.

According to the provincial government, the man was admitted to the private hospital in Mogale City on Saturday.

31 March 2020 - 18:41

There will be no taxi shutdown, Mbalula assures South Africans

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has assured South Africans that there will no longer be a “shutdown” by the taxi industry following a meeting he had with taxi associations.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Mbalula said he was optimistic that there was an understanding between the taxi industry and the government that the outbreak of Covid-19 was beyond their control.

He said that following the meeting with the industry, the strike will no longer go ahead.

March 31 2020 - 18:01

March 31 2020 - 17:52

March 31 2020 - 17:38

SA Covid-19 cases rise to 1,353 with 4 deaths

The number of Covid-19 cases in SA has risen to 1,353, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Tuesday afternoon.

Also, five people had died from the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, Mkhize said.

March 31 2020 - 17:32

Nearly 1,500 South Africans 'in need of assistance' overseas: Naledi Pandor

The government is moving to help with the repatriation of hundreds of citizens who have been stranded across the globe as a result of worldwide coronavirus travel restrictions.

Minister of international relations and co-operation Naledi Pandor told the media on Tuesday that the department’s missions abroad were working to assist those who wanted or needed to come home but were unable to do so.

March 31 2020 - 16:55

The Gauteng Health Department started screenings, tracing and testing for Covid-19 in the township of Alexandra on March 31 2020. The Johannesburg township confirmed its first case of Covid-19 on March 30 2020. President Ramaphosa announced a large-scale medical management programme of 10 000 workers would be deployed across SA to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

March 31 2020 - 16:49

Nxesi takes aim at rogue employers: 'We will name and shame'

Labour and employment minister Thulas Nxesi has threatened to name and shame companies that disregard the regulations of the 21-day lockdown.

According to Nxesi, there were companies that had obtained fraudulent permits to operate under the category of essential services. Moreover, some that had legitimately been granted the permit were not adhering to safety measures they are ordered to undertake to protect their staff.

March 31 2020 - 16:28

Central Karoo still clear as Western Cape Covid-19 cases rise to 348

The number of Covid-19 patients in the Western Cape had risen to 348 by midnight on Monday, said premier Alan Winde.

Fifty people who had tested positive in Cape Town had fully recovered and completed their 14 days of self-isolation.

March 31 2020 - 16:09

'Physical distancing' is the new phrase to use

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has asked that people around the world during this time of pandemic speak of “physical distancing” rather than “social distancing” — because of the psychological importance of staying connected virtually.

March 31 2020 - 16:04

How cellphone technology will boost fight against coronavirus

Cellphone technology will be used to help health workers track and trace people infected with Covid-19 and their contacts.

Speaking on radio 702 on Tuesday, health department deputy director-general Dr Yogan Pillay said: “We are working with Telkom to develop a solution where the community health workers will get the telephone numbers and physical locations of people who have tested positive, as well as their contacts.

March 31 2020 - 15:55

Police shoot two nurses over transport confusion during lockdown

Police shot dead two nurses from the Bongani Regional Hospital in Welkom during a scuffle, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) alleged on Tuesday.

Police, however, denied receiving such reports.

The turmoil erupted when health service providers were renegotiating an arrangement to have the hospital arrange transport for them during the Covid-19 lockdown. 

March 31 2020 - 15:35

March 31 2020 -15:23

March 31 2020 - 15:11

Anglo American at loggerheads with EFF over 'return to work' request during lockdown

Anglo American has summoned mineworkers back to work at the Sishen iron ore mine in the Northern Cape after getting approval from the minister of mineral resources and energy. 

The move has irked the EFF in the province. The party accused the company of being reckless with the lives of employees.

March 31 2020 - 14:55

'Avoid overcrowded places like your boyfriend's heart': Kenyan MP's tips on avoiding Covid-19

As health authorities and leaders offer guidelines on keeping healthy amid the Covid-19 outbreak, one Kenyan MP's hilarious tips have left social media in stitches.

MP Millie Odhiambo shared a few lighthearted tips to avoid contracting the deadly virus while addressing the country's National Assembly earlier this month.

Odhiambo shared some guidelines she'd received from citizens, which include “avoiding men (mouth, eyes and nose)” as well as overcrowded places “like your boyfriend's heart”.

March 31 2020 - 14:40

New York is reporting at least 66,497 positive cases of Covid-19 and more than 1,300 related deaths. This means that nearly three in 1,000 people in New York City is infected. Medical workers share their experience in the life-or-death fight against the virus.

March 31 2020 - 14:33

Essential service permits wrongfully awarded to small businesses will be revoked

“The operation of any essential service is subject to full compliance with the applicable lockdown regulations and that the company falls within the scope of essential services as defined in the regulations.”

The department said a number of businesses applied but did not comply with the conditions. Unless a company is listed as an essential service or goods supplier, it is illegal for it to remain operational during the lockdown.

March 31 2020 - 14:33

UJ student who has not travelled abroad tests positive for Covid-19

"The staff member travelled to Europe in early March, but since returning to South Africa has not been to the university and, as such, has not made any contact with any staff member or student," the university said in a statement.

March 31 2020 - 14:26

Warm meals, tight hugs and wagging tails for Wuhan teacher returning home

Welcome home signs, tight hugs, warm home-cooked meals and the wagging tails of dogs after 11 months. This is the experience of Amy Pittaway, who spent the past 14 days in quarantine at The Ranch Resort in Limpopo.

March 31 2020 - 14:17

'SA's defeat of Covid-19 depends on mandatory quarantine': Mbuyiseni Ndlozi

The former EFF spokesperson said the sooner government quarantines those who test positive in 24-hour monitored facilities, the better.

31 March 2020 - 2-16

UDM leader General Bantu Holomisa has tested negative for Covid-19.

Holomisa announced on social media that he was informed by his doctor that the "SARS Coronavirus 2 RNA was not detected in this sample”. 

He was tested on Friday, the same day the on which the African Christian Democratic Party announced that its leader, Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, and and chief whip, Steve Swart, had tested positive for Covid-19. Read more


March 31 2020 - 2:14

March 31 2020 - 13:55

Competition Commission receives more than 500 complaints about excessive prices

The commission said that since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a state of national disaster on March 15, it has received 559 complaints about excessive pricing.

"Approximately 250 of these relate to matters that fall outside the scope of the Competition Act as well as the applicable regulations, and shall therefore not be pursued further.

The balance of the complaints are against retailers and suppliers for charging excessive prices for products related to Covid-19 essentials," the commission said.

March 31 2020 - 13:45

Two doctors test positive for Covid-19 in Mpumalanga

Two doctors based at Mmametlhake Hospital had tested positive for the coronavirus.

“The second doctor tested positive and has been in contact with the first since they share accommodation. She has also been asked to self-quarantine.”

March 31 2020 - 13:31

Minibus taxis on a go-slow in protest against Covid-19 lockdown measures

Some taxi drivers in the East London CBD have set themselves on a collision course with the government as they demand double the normal fare from desperate passengers amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

The practice of doubling taxi fares started on Friday, on the first day of the lockdown.

March 31 2020 - 13:27

SA citizens stranded in 'no man's land' at airport in Malaysia plead for help

"We are not allowed to leave the airport terminal into Malaysia because Malaysia is on lockdown. We are confined to the airport terminal here in Kuala Lumpur. Our only option at the moment is SA opening the borders for international flights."

March 31 2020 - 12:57

Do you get paid during the lockdown period?

Some employers are continuing to pay salaries during the 21-day lockdown period while others have adopted a no-work, no-pay principle.

March 31 2020- 12:54

Call centre boss granted R5,000 bail after arrest for alleged lockdown violations

Mark Deva Chana, a Briton, was charged for contravention of Covid-19 requirements, including failing to cease operations at the call centre, having  more than 100 employees in one office,  not adhering to physical distancing requirements and failing to provide employees with gloves and masks.

Workers were evacuated by police from the building on Monday.

March 31 2020 - 12:36

SA crew aboard Queen Mary 2 granted permission to disembark in Durban after testing negative for Covid-19

The vessel has been positioned outside the port since Friday, requesting clearance to berth to receive bunkers and stores.

March 31 2020 - 11:31

Addicts won't cope without booze and cigarettes, say drug activists

A drug pressure group has called for the lockdown ban on alcohol and cigarette sales to be reversed for the sake of addicts.

"Especially in the case of alcohol, many of those with substance-use disorders cannot simply stop using drugs," the SA Drug Policy Initiative said a statement on Tuesday. "If they do, they risk developing a range of symptoms including psychosis, seizures and ultimately death."

March 31 2020 - 11:29

March 31 2020 - 11:25

You’ll be let off the hook for driving with an expired licence or vehicle disc during lockdown

Motorists will be let off the hook for now for driving with expired driving or learner’s licences and car licence discs.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula on Monday issued a gazette extending the validity of the above, driving permits and registration of cars.

March 31 2020 - 11:21

LISTEN | Pandemic, epidemic and endemic - what is the difference?

March 31 2020 - 11:19

EXPLAINED | Wearing face masks and gloves? You're probably doing it wrong

While the World Health Organisation (WHO) has strongly advised wearing a mask and gloves in public if you suspect you’re infected or someone you are caring for is, many people are probably doing it wrong.

Here is how to correctly use masks and gloves during the pandemic.

March 31 2020 - 11:17

Three more test positive for Covid-19 at Durban old age home

Three more residents of a Durban old-age home have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total to five.

Dudley Fortune of the Bill Buchanan Association for the Aged in Morningside told TimesLIVE on Tuesday that four of the five residents in isolation had the virus.

March 31 2020 - 11:15

WATCH | White woman teaching black staff how to wash hands causes outrage, person who recorded speaks

The person who took video footage of a white woman “teaching” black staff how to wash their hands to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at a housing complex in Johannesburg says the intention was not to vilify the woman, but ensure workers are treated well.

The footage of the woman, only known as “Shelley” went viral over the weekend after it was shared on Twitter by comedian Lesego Tlhabi.

March 31 2020 - 11:14

March 31 2020 - 11:11

From shock to 'meh': reactions to Alexandra’s first official Covid-19 case

Social media went into chaos mode on Monday after the first official case of Covid-19 was reported in the Gauteng township of Alexandra.

It was all too much for some citizens, who flooded social media with memes and messages in reaction to the news.

March 31 2020 - 11:10

Former Congo president Yombi Opango dies of Covid-19 in France

Former Republic of Congo president Jacques Joaquim Yhombi Opango died in France on Monday of Covid-19, his family told AFP. He was 81.

Yhombi Opango, who led Congo-Brazzaville from 1977 until he was toppled in 1979, died at a Paris hospital of Covid-19, his son Jean-Jacques said.

March 31 2020 - 11:08

Looming salary cut for SA soccer players due to financial damage of the coronavirus

South African clubs are yet to ask their players to take a pay cut as a result of the potential financial damage being done by the coronavirus lockdown, but the South African Football Players Union are preparing for the discussion.

Players across the world, including Lionel Messi at Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus, have given up portions of their salaries to help reduce the costs at their respective clubs, where there is no longer any income as a result of the suspension of league and cup competition matches.

31 March 2020 - 08:39

Diary of a single, Soweto mom: Today, I almost snitched on my neighbours

I’ve run out of snacks I bought before the lockdown in anticipation of boredom and just needing to eat something and pile up some calories.

I’m also out of my weekly fruits and vegetables but tempted as I am to head to my nearest Pick n Pay, the fear of potentially finding myself in the crowd was enough to get me to stay. Read more.

31 March 2020 - 08:37

WATCH | Going junk in the time of Covid-19: What you need to know

What it means for SA.

31 March 2020 - 08:15

SA’s third Covid-19 death is 86-year-old man from Bloemfontein

A 86-year-old man from Bloemfontein in the Free State has been confirmed as the third person to die from Covid-19 in SA.

The Free State department of health said his 81-year-old wife had also been admitted to hospital. Read more.

31 March 2020 - 07:45

Stowaways 'thrown from ship' after coronavirus accusations

Two Tanzanian men have been rescued off shore of Zinkwazi beach, on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, after being thrown from a Chinese vessel which was leaving the Durban harbour. Read more.

31 March 2020 - 07:23

Gogos stranded as taxis fail to operate for grant recipients

As taxis failed to operate in Atteridgeville, many gogos and oupas on Monday were forced to walk to various social grant pay points. Read more.

31 March 2020 - 06:00

31 March 2020 - 06:00

Don’t dare think that the coronavirus will pass you by,

warns President Ramaphosa

In an 18-minute address to the nation, Ramaphosa was critical of those who weren’t taking the national lockdown seriously by ignoring regulations and trying to find loopholes.

“Some people may think this disease is something that doesn't concern them, and that it will never affect them - that it is something they only read about in newspapers or social media or see reports about on television. But it is very real. And it poses a great danger to every one of us and to our society as well,” he said.

“It infects the rich and the poor, the young and the old, black and white, those who live in the cities and those who live in the rural areas. Let us not make the mistake of thinking that this is somebody else's problem.”

March 31 2020 - 17:48