COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 12th death, Boris Johnson goes to ICU and citizens 'refuse' tests over fake news

06 April 2020 - 06:49 By TimesLIVE
A person wearing a PPE suit exits the Elmhurst Hospital centre on April 5 2020 as the outbreak of Covid-19 continues in New York, US.
A person wearing a PPE suit exits the Elmhurst Hospital centre on April 5 2020 as the outbreak of Covid-19 continues in New York, US.
Image: REUTERS / Eduardo Munoz

April 6 2020 - 22:20

British PM taken to intensive care

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson's condition has worsened since being hospitalised with persistent Covid-19 symptoms and he has been moved into intensive care, his Downing Street office said in a statement on Monday.

April 6 2020 - 21:34

Mkhize announces another Covid-19 death in SA

SA has recorded its 12th Covid-19 death.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said that a 57-year-old man from the Western Cape had died.

He also announced that there were 31 new Covid-19 cases recorded in SA since Sunday night, bringing the total to 1,686.

April 6 2020 - 18:56

Claims that Covid-19 test swabs were contaminated prevents testing in Gauteng

Many people don't want to be tested for Covid-19 because of a "fake news" video which claimed that the swabs used to test for the illness were contaminated.

And this, the Gauteng health department said, was hampering the country's efforts to curb the spread of the fatal respiratory illness.

The department said on Monday that it had come across difficulties in its community testing initiative, as some people refused to be tested because of false information they had received.

April 6 2020 - 18:37

Criminal charges opened against man who claimed Covid-19 swabs are contaminated

Criminal charges have formally been opened against a Cape Town man who claimed that the swabs used to test for Covid-19 were themselves contaminated with the coronavirus.

The charge were laid on Monday by DA MP Siviwe Gwarube, who said spreading fake news was against the Covid-19 disaster management regulations and warned of potential jail time for anyone found guilty of doing so.

April 6 2020 - 18:29

Taxis, passengers and drivers to be sanitised at Gauteng ranks

Gauteng taxi ranks will be sanitised every three days in the fight against Covid-19 as part of a Gauteng transport department initiative.

As part of the initiative, every taxi, commuter and driver will also be sanitised. Gauteng transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo launched the programme at the Sangweni taxi rank in Tembisa, east of Joburg, on Monday. 

April 6 2020 - 17:39

SA's expedition to Marion Island downsized over coronavirus fears

The government has cancelled field science activities and dramatically reduced the size of this year’s expedition to Marion Island because of the coronavirus infection.

SA manages a weather station at the remote base on the sub-Antarctic Indian Ocean island.

April 6 2020 - 17:32

What it's like to treat Covid-19 in New York: Zimbabwean doctor tells her story

A Zimbabwean doctor working in New York says she sometimes feels helpless in the fight against Covid-19 — and without a vaccine or cure, says the world should work more to flatten the curve.

Dr Monalisa Muchatatu, 38, an emergency medical practitioner based in Brooklyn — which by Friday last week had 102,863 Covid-19 cases — told TimesLIVE that not even the best treatment money can buy is enough to save all lives.

April 6 2020 - 17:18

British Open cancelled for first time since World War 2

The British Open has been cancelled for the first time since World War II due to the coronavirus.

The 149th Open was scheduled to take place at Royal St George's Golf Club in Kent in July.

April 6 2020 - 17:01

South Africans stranded in Egypt plead for help to get back home

South Africans stranded in Egypt because of travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 made a plea to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday to be repatriated.

“Mr Ramaphosa, please help us get back to SA. I am a South African citizen, I do not have any more money to stay on here,” Melissa Schnettler, 46, said in a voice note shared with TimesLIVE.

April 6 2020 - 16:53

LISTEN | How to fight anxiety and depression caused by the lockdown

“The 21-day lockdown may sound like a short time but for some isolation can lead to increased anxiety and depression,” says clinical psychologist and board member of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, Dr Colinda Linde.

She says anxiety will continue to increase as the fight against Covid-19 goes on, because this is a situation the world has never faced before.

April 6 2020 - 16:43

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola's mother dies after coronavirus infection

The mother of Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has died after being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, the English Premier League champions said on Monday.

April 6 2020 - 16:31

SA engineers offer free services for informal settlement 'de-densification'

A group of black South African engineers has come together to offer its services for free to the government in a bid to create temporary settlements to fight the spread of Covid-19.

Human settlements, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu announced last month that the government would be “de-densifying” informal settlements across the country in a bid to fight the virus.

April 6 2020 - 16:12

April 6 2020 - 15:57

Ramaphosa impressed by Africa's response to Covid-19 pandemic

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday he was impressed by the continent's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ramaphosa wrote in his weekly newsletter that if African countries continued in the “positive vein” with which they have responded, the continent would prove its capability to deal with its problems.

April 6 2020 - 15:52

IN PICTURES | Street vendor arrested for selling goods during lockdown

A street vendor was arrested at Esangweni taxi rank in Tembisa for selling newspapers and sweets during the 21-day lockdown, despite claiming to have a permit.

April 6 2020 - 15:44

Bloemfontein doctor in isolation after patient tests positive for Covid-19

A Bloemfontein doctor is in self-isolation after one of her patients tested positive for Covid-19.

The patient showed symptoms of the respiratory illness, which is caused by the coronavirus, and the doctor referred him to hospital, where he tested positive.

Dr Nadina Wessels told TimesLIVE on Monday that the patient was treated at her practice in the suburb of Heidedal on April 2.

April 6 2020 - 15:32

Prophet Bushiri is raising funds for Covid-19, says church after criticism

The Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church has dismissed social media criticism about its leader Shepherd Bushiri asking for money from his followers.

The church said Bushiri was on a global fundraising campaign to raise money needed in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

A video of the self-proclaimed prophet telling his followers to pay their tithes and offerings to a displayed bank account was doing rounds on social media over the weekend.

April 6 2020 - 15:13

Covid-19 testing and tracing to hit Rustenburg taxi rank from Tuesday

The North West government has put its focus on Rustenburg as part of its efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the province.

To this end, premier Tebogo Mokgoro will lead a delegation in mass testing, screening and contact tracing in the town.

The main focus area will be on the town's main taxi rank.

"Rustenburg taxi rank is the biggest in the North Wes, and the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the province is, as confirmed by the minister of health, is in Rustenburg," the government said in a statement.

The latest health ministry statistics reveal that, by Sunday night, there are 11 confirmed cases in the North West.

April 6 2020 - 15:12

Signs emerge that football seasons around the world could be restarted

Those desperate to see this Premier Soccer League campaign brought to a sporting conclusion‚ with the remainder of the fixtures completed‚ will have drawn encouragement from several new developments worldwide as football leaders look to get the game restarted.

April 6 2020 - 15:09

Need Covid-19 isolation? If you have R1,350 to spare you can stay here - for one night

For a minimum of R1,350 a night, you could self-isolate in style in a room at the Capital Hotel and Apartments in Sandton, the luxury accommodation group announced on Monday.

The Capital said this package would secure a customer one night in one of their standard rooms, three meals a day and a nurse on call. The food, it said, would all be prepared in accordance to strict sanitary guidelines.

April 6 2020 15:08

R1.2bn government fund to ensure food security in SA for six months

Agriculture minister Thoko Didiza on Monday said a R1.2bn allocation to assist farmers grappling with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic was to ensure food security for the next six months.

However, not every farmer would qualify for funding.

Didiza said applications would open from April 10 until April 22, and only applications received during this period would be processed.

April 6 2020 - 14:35

Zwelinzima Vavi in 'positive spirits and will be home today'

Labour movement leader Zwelinzima Vavi is in “positive” spirits and will be released from hospital soon.

This is according to National Union of Metalworkers Union of SA president Andrew Chirwa, who told TimesLIVE he had spoken to Vavi on Monday morning.

April 6 2020 14:11

Game-changers: two inventions vital to the battle against Covid-19

When a Wits inventor walked off with an international prize late last year, he had no idea how important his invention would become as Covid-19 hit the world.

Michael Lucas, a PhD student in the school of mechanical engineering, had over the course of five years developed a metallised coating that can be added to surfaces in hospitals to make them capable of self-sanitising.

April 6 2020 13:54

UberEats back online, but not to deliver food 

Online food delivery service UberEats is back online, but only to deliver essential products.

Some of the products customers can get through the app are over the counter medication, baby formula and toiletries.

April 6 2020 - 13:43

Chippa player Nsabiyumva distressed by Burundi's decision to continue playing

Chippa United defender Frédéric Nsabiyumva is disappointed with the Burundi football federation’s decision to continue with the league season in his home country in the face of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.

The tiny east African nation is one of only four countries in the world where formal league football continues after the Football Federation of Burundi on Sunday resolved to press ahead with the season following a meeting of its member clubs.

April 6 2020 13:30

Covid-19: Flu vaccinations offered to alleviate pressure on Gauteng health department

The Gauteng health department in the Ekurhuleni district has called for pregnant women, the elderly and children to receive annual flu vaccinations.

“The vaccine has no known efficacy against Covid-19. However, circulation of flu viruses will increase pressure on the health-care system.”

The vaccinations are being offered at any of the local clinics and community health centres from Monday April 6 to Wednesday April 8, starting at 10am each day.

April 6 2020 13:22

Lockdown? Life continues as normal in some parts of the Eastern Cape

From boys illegally being circumcised to the elderly attending traditional ceremonies in their hundreds and budding sports stars honing their skills, life continues as normal in some rural areas in the Eastern Cape.

This is despite SA being on lockdown, a move that President Cyril Ramaphosa announced as a measure to flatten the curve as the world battles Covid-19, reports DispatchLIVE.

While there has been a general attempt to follow the rules of the lockdown in urban areas, that has not been the case in many rural areas. 

Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) provincial secretary Nkosi Mkhanyiseli Dudumayo said they were deeply concerned as not only were villagers disobeying the president's orders, but they were putting their lives at risk as they might be infected with the respiratory illness.

April 6 2020 11:33

Sick Filipino sailor evacuated from ship off KZN coast

A Filipino sailor had to be evacuated from a bulk carrier off the coast of Richards Bay after falling ill on Saturday.

Jacques Kruger, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) commander at Richards Bay, said his team was contacted by the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) with a report that a sailor needed to be removed from a ship near the KwaZulu-Natal coastal town after suffering a medical emergency not related to Covid-19.

After stringent checks by port security and the health department, a NSRI team, accompanied by paramedics, travelled to the ship via a sea rescue craft to remove the 31-year-old man. 

Kruger said: “The patient was secured into a stokes basket stretcher and transferred on to our sea rescue craft, and, in the care of the Netcare 911 rescue paramedics, he was brought to our sea rescue base without incident.

“He was then transported in a stable condition to hospital.”

April 6 2020 11:20

More than 160 South Africans repatriated and thousands still to come: Pandor

Just over 160 South Africans have been repatriated to SA since President Cyril Ramaphosa relaxed restrictions last week to allow South Africans stranded abroad to come back home.

Speaking to eNCA on Monday morning, international relations & co-operation minister Naledi Pandor said her department was trying its best to ensure that it used evacuation efforts by foreign governments, which are evacuating its citizens from SA, to return South Africans home.

“We have got a few people that are back home. We have had repatriation of over 163 citizens back into SA and with the help of SAA and various foreign governments, we are hoping to bring more and more South Africans who wish to come home back home,” Pandor said.

April 6 2020 11:08

Fair and Equitable Society withdraws shutdown brutality case

The non-governmental organisation (NGO) that took the government to court over alleged police and defence force brutality in enforcing the Covid-19 lockdown has withdrawn its case, after President Cyril Ramaphosa accused it of failing to provide admissible evidence.

The Fair and Equitable Society (FES) served a notice on lawyers for Ramaphosa and SA Police Force and SA National Defence Force ministers Bheki Cele and Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, respectively, on Sunday afternoon, that it was withdrawing the case, reports BusinessLIVE.

The case was due to be argued on Tuesday. FES has yet to comment publicly on the reasons for the withdrawal of its application, in which, among other things, it sought an order that alleged law enforcement brutality during the shutdown had violated the constitution.

April 6 2020 10:25

'Covid-19 has proven African countries can hold their own': Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the Covid-19 pandemic has proven that African countries can weather the storm in spite of healthcare discrepancies.

"This global pandemic has exposed the fragility of inward-looking and insular political, economic and social systems. It is leading some to call for ‘a new moral economy’ that has people and their welfare at its centre."

"In both their respective national responses and the continental effort, African countries can hold their own."

In his weekly newsletter Ramaphosa said the virus was so vicious that it attacked everyone, irrespective of race, class and gender.

"One thing we have learnt about the coronavirus over the last three months is that it does not respect borders. It has spread across Asia, Europe, North, Central and South America and Africa."

"Distinctions of wealth, poverty, nationality, race and class have been rendered meaningless as infections grow in developed and developing countries alike."

April 6 2020 09:26

WATCH | Lockdown fitness: Trainer embraces Covid-19 challenges

SA’s state of lockdown was announced on March 23 2020, and many South Africans started to wonder how they were going to stay fit if they couldn't go for a daily run, walk or cycle, or go to the gym.

Social media platforms were eventually full of posts with personal trainers trying to play their part by creating “home workouts”.

Personal trainer Abdullah Bayett has been sharing his fitness and strength training regimes.

Bayett, who runs SKR Martial Arts & Fitness Academy in Lenasia, Johannesburg, has approached the lockdown as a new challenge.

He has been recording a combination of fitness routines and sharing the videos with his members via WhatsApp to ensure they stay fit during the lockdown.

April 6 2020 09:15

WATCH | Zwelinzima Vavi posts 'sweaty' video, vows to fight Covid-19

The general secretary of the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), Zwelinzima Vavi, thanked South Africans for their messages of support as he continues to fight Covid-19.

He shared two videos over the weekend, one in which he appeared to be heavily sweaty, saying he was optimistic the deadly virus would not take him down.

“Corona has finally met its match. It stands no chance. None whatsoever. It is going to be defeated and chased out of this body. It will fall,” he said in a viral video.

On Sunday he complained about a heavy chest and lungs, and said he would have this checked by his doctors.

“They will check my levels of oxygen, I think I will be fine thereafter. I just need a lot of rest.”

April 6 2020 09:00

WATCH | All you need to know about attending a funeral during SA's #21daylockdown

Minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has gazetted amendments to the regulations on the #SALockdown, including on the movement of people wanting to attend funerals.

Those wanting to attend funerals in other provinces will require a permit from a magistrate or police station commander, or a person designated by them.

A list of eligible people including partners, children, parents, children-in-law, siblings, grandparents and people who have close relations with the deceased were highlighted in Dlamini-Zuma's announcement.

April 6 2020 07:48

SA reaches 11th death as a result of Covid-19

Two patients in their 80s have died, bringing the death toll from Covid-19 to 11 in South Africa, health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday night. Both patients had underlying medical conditions.

The country has now recorded 1,655 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

The total number of Covid-19 tests conducted so far is 56,873, an increase of 2,936 from those reported on Saturday.

One of the patients who died was an 82-year-old woman who was admitted to ICU on March 29, the minister said. She had a fever, shortness of breath, body pains, a dry cough and sore throat.

"She also had comorbidities that included hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol."

April 6 2020 - 07:23

SA brains come up with a nifty box to protect coronavirus frontline staff

Emergency doctors at Joburg's Charlotte Maxeke Hospital have come up with an innovation to protect healthcare workers from Covid-19. 

April 6 2020 - 07:00

Universities consider reconfiguring academic year

A common reopening date, online learning and reconfiguring the academic calendar to align it with that of the northern hemisphere — these are all possible scenarios for SA tertiary institutions dealing with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

April 6 2020 - 06:35

Hunger, poverty and lockdown adds up to domestic violence crisis

Lockdown is the last thing a victim of domestic violence needs, says the director of a women's rights organisation.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of women seeking help,” she said. “The fights are happening because people are not used to being together for longer periods and being in confined spaces. There is already one woman killed [in the Eastern Cape].”

April 6 2020 - 06:02

There’s mayhem in store over who gets to define ‘essential’

Who determines a hairbrush to be a non-essential product? 

Thanks to some vague new legislation, it’s hard to know.


April 6 2020 - 06:03

Informal settlements a tinderbox of discontent

The government faces a revolt from residents of informal settlements who are unable to obey the strict lockdown regulations.