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COVID-19 WRAP | Day 7 - Global tally passes one million as SA edges towards 1,500 confirmed cases

02 April 2020 - 07:26 By TimesLIVE
Armed police storm Cape Town church to remove refugees​.
Armed police storm Cape Town church to remove refugees​.

2 April 2020 - 11.05pm

Our live coverage has come to an end for today. Here are some of the main stories from Thursday, day 7 of SA's national lockdown:

  • The number of Covid-19 cases in SA climbed to 1,462 - which was "quite an increase", health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said;
  • The global figure of coronavirus cases surged past one million on Thursday, according to an AFP tally;
  • At a ministerial briefing, it was announced that the SA government had taken over the management of the country's water supply, that it was going to use cellphone tracking to find potential Covid-19 contacts, and that there weren't enough facts available yet to determine whether or not the 21-day lockdown would be extended;
  • An 81-year-old resident of an old age home in Durban became the latest known person in SA to die from Covid-19; and
  • Union boss Zwelinzima Vavi has tested positive for Covid-19.


2 April 2020 - 20:34pm

We don't have enough facts to decide on lockdown extension: Dlamini-Zuma

Cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Thursday that it was too early for government to state whether the national lockdown would continue beyond the current 21-day period.

Speaking at a ministerial briefing, Dlamini-Zuma said: "It's still early to say whether it will be extended or not. We've only had a week today, seven days. So it's too early to assess."

2 April 2020 - 19:29pm

Mkhize notes 'quite an increase' in Covid-19 cases

The number of South Africans tested positive for Covid-19 has increased to 1,462.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize gave the update at the Universitas Hospital in the Free State after a visit on Thursday.

"The total number that have tested positive has is 1,462, and so there has been quite an increase," he said.

2 April 2020 - 19:02pm

Shifting regulations not a 'flip-flop': Lamola

Justice minister Ronald Lamola has defended changes made to lockdown regulations, saying this was not a “flip-flop” - but that the laws were amended given the changing nature of the situation.

“The reg will be amended, will be reviewed, from time to time, to deal with issues that arise as and when we move on through this period.

Some things that happen we might not have been aware of. We might need to strengthen or relax the regulations,” he said.

He was speaking at a briefing following a meeting of the National Command Council, which met earlier in the day.

2 April 2020 - 18:47pm

We’re not spying, communications minister assures SA

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said on Thursday night that the decision to use cellphone tracking as part of “contact tracing” was not government spying.

“This is not spying on anyone. We’re not intercepting calls,” she said.

Speaking at a briefing following a meeting of the National Command Council, which met earlier in the day, the minister said that this was part of the measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ndabeni-Abrahams explained that if a person tested positive for Covid-19, they would be asked to provide phone numbers of those they might have come in contact with - and then those numbers could be tracked for geolocation information.

“We respect people’s right to privacy, but individual rights don’t supersede the country’s rights. The most important and critical right we are working towards is the safety of all South Africans,” she said.

2 April 2020 - 18:34pm

Spaza shops can be open during lockdown: Dlamini-Zuma

All spaza shops are allowed to be open during the national shutdown, cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Thursday night.

She said that all informal food traders were also allowed to operate, but they would need a permit from their councillor or from the municipality.

She was speaking at a briefing following a meeting of the National Command Council, which met earlier in the day.

Dlamini-Zuma said that people could travel across provinces to attend funerals, provided they had permission from a magistrate or a SAPS station commissioner.

They also had to be close family members - and the rules remained that there could be no more than 50 people there and that night vigils were still strictly prohibited.

2 April 2020 - 17:33pm

Second Covid-19 case in Khayelitsha as premier starts mask-making drive

The massive Cape Town township of Khayelitsha has recorded its second case of Covid-19, Western Cape premier Alan Winde said on Thursday.

The new case was among 393 confirmed in the province, 321 of which were in the Cape Town metro.

“While infections have grown more slowly here than elsewhere, we are seeing trends which are cause for concern,” Winde said in his daily coronavirus bulletin.

2 April 2020 - 5:16pm

Pick n Pay and Spar install screens at tills amid Covid-19 concerns

Supermarkets Pick n Pay and Spar have rolled out Perspex screens to protect staff and customers from contracting the deadly coronavirus.

Pick n Pay on Thursday said the screens had been installed in more than 430 stores around the country.

“We have put a number of physical distancing measures in place in our stores to help keep staff and customers safe. Perspex screens are now being rolled out at all Pick n Pay till points countrywide. The transparent screens are mounted at the till and are situated between cashiers and customers.''

2 April 2020 - 5pm

Government to update the nation on revised lockdown regulations

The coronavirus national command council appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation at 6pm on Thursday on the revised lockdown regulations.

Earlier on Thursday, government instructed people wishing to leave town for a funeral under the lockdown to get a permit first from a magistrate or a police station.

2 April 2020 - 4:40pm

Cape Town suspends law enforcement officers over lockdown 'abuse'

Three Cape Town law enforcement officers have been suspended for allegedly verbally abusing and harassing people on the Cape Flats during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The suspensions were revealed on Thursday by Western Cape community safety MEC Albert Fritz, who said he condemned any abuse of power by police or soldiers.

“Fundamental constitutional rights, such as the right to dignity, can under no circumstances be suspended by the national state of disaster,” he said.

2 April 2020 - 4:34pm

Samsung, Telkom donate 1,500 cellphones to track pandemic

Gauteng health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku said on Thursday the province had received its share of 1,500 cellphones donated by Samsung Africa and Telkom to help trace people in contact with those who had tested positive for Covid-19.

Masuku said the donation was a major boost for the team responsible for contact tracing.

“We are excited about this partnership, this will improve the work of our tracers. The health system must be patient-centred, clinician-led and stakeholder-driven,” he said.

2 April 2020 - 4:18pm

Illegal liquor sellers among 1,443 people arrested in KZN for lockdown non-compliance

A total of 1,443 people have been arrested in KwaZulu-Natal since Friday for failing to comply with the national lockdown regulations.

This was revealed by MEC for transport, community and safety liaison Bheki Ntuli on Thursday.

Ntuli was speaking during a roadblock on the R102 in KwaDukuza, north of Durban.

He said the arrests were made during various raids and roadblocks held across the province.

2 April 2020 - 4:16pm

Mine denies union claims that it's running at full capacity during lockdown

Village Main Reef Group and the department of mineral resources & energy have denied claims by unions that Tau Lekoa gold mine in Orkney is running at full capacity during the lockdown.

The claim first emerged on Wednesday when the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said it was shocked that Village Main had reached consensus with other unions at the mine for full-scale operations to continue, and not just care and maintenance operations allowed during the national lockdown.

2 April 2020 - 3:13pm

Panic at Durban old age home after death of one of their own

An 81-year-old Durban woman died from Covid-19 in hospital on Thursday afternoon.

The woman had been at the Bill Buchanan Association for the Aged in Morningside for only four days when she tested positive for the deadly virus.

Her son told TimesLIVE on Thursday that his mother had died at 2:19pm.

The woman had been on a ventilator until Wednesday afternoon.

2 April 2020 - 3:13pm

Armed police storm Cape Town church to remove refugees

Scores of armed police in battle gear stormed a church in the Cape Town city centre on Thursday afternoon to remove hundreds of refugees who had been holed up there for months.

Public order police broke down the front and rear doors at Central Methodist Church in Greenmarket Square.

April 2 2020 13:00 

Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi tests positive for Covid-19

General secretary of the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), Zwelinzima Vavi has tested positive for Covid-19.

Vavi told eNCA on Thursday he had no idea how he became exposed to the virus.

"All I had was a flu from Friday and it got worse by Saturday and Sunday and yesterday I went to test, just to be on the safe side, not that I had any of the signs…" he said.​

April 2 2020 15:53

Cape Town sets up tents for 4,000 homeless at coastal sports ground

Cape Town changed its lockdown plan for 4,000 homeless people on Thursday and will now accommodate all of them in tents at Strandfontein Sports Ground.

Mayor Dan Plato said a single facility would be easier to manage than several smaller ones, and the sports ground — near Strandfontein Pavilion on the False Bay coast — could “comfortably” accommodate the number of people who needed shelter, while complying with physical distancing protocols.

“The task to get the temporary shelter up and running requires long hours and a lot of resources from various city departments,” Plato said. “This project will be co-ordinated under the command of the disaster operations centre.”

April 2 2020 12:40

Minister Sisulu appeals to municipalities and private property owners to suspend evictions

Water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu has appealed to municipalities and private property owners to suspend evictions during the current lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We implore our municipalities and private property owners to understand that preferably, the only movement of people that should occur now is through the de-densification initiative that was recently announced by my department."

April 2 2020 14:29

'Stay at home in order to flatten the curve': Springboks team doctor

Springboks team doctor Lehlogonolo Mampane has also taken time to remind South Africans the importance of staying home during the 21-day lockdown, saying this is important if SA is to flatten the curve. 

April 2 2020 12:40

University of Cape Town confirms sixth case of Covid-19

The University of Cape Town (UCT) on Thursday confirmed a sixth case of Covid-19.

Three staff members and three students have now tested positive for the virus.

UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said the institution was “advised that a third student tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday [March 29]”.

The student is receiving medical support and identified contacts were traced and advised to go into quarantine,” he said. “UCT has now had six cases of Covid-19 — three staff members and three students. All individuals who tested positive immediately went into self-isolation for 14 days, and all their identified contacts went into quarantine as soon as they were traced.”

April 2 2020 12:25

Malema on relaxing lockdown regulations: 'Covid-19 will spread like wildfire, millions will die'

EFF leader Julius Malema has warned government against negotiating with non-essential sectors who want lockdown regulations to be relaxed.

April 2 2020 12:38

Man who tried to cheat no-fly rule with charter flight is deported

A SA man of Italian descent tried to fly into the country via Harare - but was bust and deported, after police were alerted.

Transport ministry spokesperson Ayanda Allie Paine said he was intercepted on Wednesday afternoon.

“A private charter aircraft landed at OR Tambo International Airport from Harare, Zimbabwe, with one passenger on board.

“The flight was not cleared by the department of transport as required in terms of the current protocols in force during the lockdown. The passenger and the crew were held at the airport ...”

April 2 2020 10:29

Water department delivers 262 water tanks in Limpopo

The department of water and sanitation has delivered 262 water tanks in Limpopo to deal with water shortages during the 21-day lockdown.

The province will also get 27 trucks (water tankers).

April 2 2020 09:58

Covid-19 repatriations: SAA to fly visitors to home countries

Tourists, foreign workers and students stranded in SA by the sudden Covid-19 lockdown will be able to return home on chartered flights operated by SAA.

This was announced on Thursday by SAA's business rescue practitioners Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana.

The first of these chartered flights will be for the repatriation of German citizens to their home country. They are expected to depart from Friday — from Johannesburg to Munich and Cape Town to Frankfurt.

Negotiations are ongoing with other governments for the repatriation of their citizens.

April 2 2020 09:44

Lockdown debt relief applications for SMME's now open

The department of small business development has announced that the Debt Relief Finance Scheme and Business Growth/Resilience Facility application forms for small medium and micro enterprises are now available here.

April 2 2020 07:35

Health department launches 60 mobile Covid-19 testing vans

The health department will on Thursday launch 60 new mobile Covid-19 testing units.

Initially government had seven mobile testing units.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize will also receive a little over 1,500 mobile devices from Samsung in support of Covid-19 tracing efforts.

Samsung CEO Sung Yoon and Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko joined Mkhize at the EMS Centre in Midrand where the handover will take place.

April 2 2020 07:25

Mbalula starts day 7 of lockdown at Bree taxi rank to ensure compliance

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula started day seven of the 21-day national lockdown at Bree Taxi Rank, Johannesburg CBD where him and his team went to ensure that drivers complied with the regulations.

Just hours after announcing that minibus taxis were allowed to carry a full load as long as all passengers wore masks, Mbalula rescinded the rule saying taxis can only fill the car up to 70%.

April 2 2020 07:22

POLL | Will you get your full month's pay in April?

As the month of April starts with all of us under lockdown, some South Africans are worried about what this means for their income.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula started day seven of the 21-day national lockdown at Bree Taxi Rank, Johannesburg CBD to ensure drivers comply with regulations on April 2 2020.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula started day seven of the 21-day national lockdown at Bree Taxi Rank, Johannesburg CBD to ensure drivers comply with regulations on April 2 2020.
Image: Via twitter/@Fikile Mbalula