COVID-19 WRAP | More cases reported in SA prisons

15 April 2020 - 07:43 By TimesLIVE
A banner thanking front-line health workers hangs on a high-rise building construction site during the outbreak of Covid-19 in St Julian's, Malta, on April 14 2020.
A banner thanking front-line health workers hangs on a high-rise building construction site during the outbreak of Covid-19 in St Julian's, Malta, on April 14 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

April 15 2020 - 21:52

Cabinet can't reach consensus on economic recovery plan as Covid-19 bites

The much-anticipated special cabinet meeting on Wednesday failed to come up with an economic recovery plan for SA, as the impact of the five-week lockdown mounts.

In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, acting cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said the different clusters were asked to work on a consolidated plan on efforts to boost the economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Cabinet resolved that further discussions and consultations are still required before the final consolidated plan is approved to be shared with the nation,” said Williams.

April 15 2020 - 20:55

More cases reported in SA prisons

The number of Covid-19 cases in South African prisons has increased by six, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 85.

This figure includes inmates and officials, the correctional services department said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

The East London prison in the Eastern Cape has recorded 56 cases of inmates with Covid-19, along with 26 officials.

April 15 2020 - 19:15

'No hospital will have protective gear while others do not have'

The government will assist private hospitals to procure protective gear in a bid to arrest the large amount of infections recorded at those facilities in recent weeks.

This is according to Dr Zweli Mkhize, who also warned that South Africans who refused to stay at home were undermining the efforts of the nationwide lockdown.

The health minister made the comments during a press conference on Wednesday, where he announced that the country now has 2,506 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and seven additional deaths, bringing the toll to 34.

April 15 2020 - 18:22

Nearly one in three Western Cape Covid-19 patients have recovered

The Western Cape's Covid-19 infections rose by 2.9% to 676 on Wednesday, premier Alan Winde announced.

Of these, 192 patients (28.4%) had recovered and seven (1%) had died - meaning there are 477 active cases, of which 37 are in hospital and 18 in intensive care.

The City of Cape Town is responsible for 84.4% of the provincial cases, and while the western and southern suburbs are still worst affected, the number of patients on the Cape Flats is growing steadily.

April 15 2020 - 18:15

There are now 2,506 cases of Covid-19 in SA

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced on Wednesday evening that there were now 2,506 cases of Covid-19 across SA. He also announced seven additional deaths, taking the total across SA to 34.

April 15 2020 - 17:50

MutliChoice, in partnership with football clubs Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, announced on Wednesday was that it was donating items of protective equipment, including masks, gloves, wipes, and shoe covers to frontline healthcare workers, police and the military.

This included 100,000 N95 masks, 350,000 surgical masks, 100,000 gloves, 10,000 protective overalls and 10,000 wipes, and 100,000 shoe covers.

April 15 2020 - 17:12

UK dismisses 5G/coronavirus claims as 'nonsense'

The British government on Wednesday dismissed a TV presenter's claim that there could be a link between 5G technology and coronavirus as "complete nonsense".

The 5G conspiracy theory, spread widely on social media, has already led to a new telecoms mast being set alight in Ireland at the weekend.

Experts have poured scorn on the claim, saying 5G is based on radio frequency and is not related to the viral outbreak.

But Eamonn Holmes, who presents ITV's This Morning show, said they were dismissing the theory "when they don't know it's not true".

April 15 2020 - 16:52

DRC coronavirus watchdog warns of 'worst' in capital

The Democratic Republic of the Congo's health authorities have appealed for maximum effort to avoid “the worst” impact of an expected peak in coronavirus cases in the capital Kinshasa next month.

The pandemic in the capital city and province “is entering an exponential phase,” the country's Covid-19 watchdog said in a report seen by AFP on Wednesday.

April 15 2020 - 15:46

April 15 2020 - 15:31

What if your warranty expires during lockdown?

If the warranty on your laptop, washing machine or fridge expires during the extended lockdown, will the supplier be obliged to honour it when it’s business as usual?

Technically no, but consumer goods and services ombudsman (CGSO) Magauta Mphahlele is urging suppliers to “take a humane and reasonable approach”.

April 15 2020 - 15:24

Universities prepare to switch to remote online learning

In an effort to salvage the academic year amid the coronavirus pandemic, universities across SA are preparing to switch to remote online learning.

April 15 2020 - 15:16

Luthuli House distances itself from face masks 'abusing the ANC emblem'

The ANC has distanced itself from face masks bearing the party's emblem and called on those producing them to stop.

Deputy secretary Jessie Duarte on Wednesday appealed to party members and manufacturers to “stop abusing the ANC emblem”.

April 15 2020 - 15:11

'The world needs the WHO now more than ever' - Bill Gates weighs in on Donald Trump halting funding

Billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates has weighed in on US President Donald Trump's decision to temporarily suspend US funding for the World Health Organisation.

The Microsoft founder said the halting of funds during the coronavirus pandemic was “as dangerous as it sounds”.

Though the tweet did not name Trump, Gates said the world needed the WHO now more than ever.

April 15 2020 - 14:59

MTN bosses to donate part of salaries towards staff relief package

Top executives at MTN Group have pledged nearly a third of their salaries and fees for the next three months to finance a R40m emergency fund for staff affected by the coronavirus crisis.

The donations by the telecoms group's chairman, chief executive, chief financial officer and other directors announced on Wednesday are part of a broader R250m relief effort to tackle the coronavirus outbreak across its 21 markets.

April 15 2020 - 14:53

SA citizens stuck in Egypt balk at R800,000 cost of charter flight

Forty-three citizens stranded in Egypt, whose flight home on Tuesday was abruptly cancelled after they paid R7,000 each, now face a whopping bill to charter a flight to Casablanca, Morocco, to get back to SA.

However, they have expressed concern about the exorbitant amount it would cost for them, as a group, to charter the flight — about $47,000 (R871,693) plus $52 (R964) per person in taxes for passengers.

April 15 2020 - 14:40

Desperate doctors want to know if the coronavirus or our own body kills us

We still don’t know how Covid-19 kills us, and that raises a big red flag for doctors trying to treat critically-ill patients.

Online science publication Nature says that scientists are not sure “whether the virus itself” is what kills us, or whether our immune system’s response is so strong that it “ultimately overwhelms the patient’s organs”.

April 15 2020 - 14:34

China 'seriously concerned' by US freeze of WHO funds

China said it was "seriously concerned" about the US decision to suspend funding for the World Health Organisation, and urged Washington to fulfill its obligations during the coronavirus crisis.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused the Geneva-based body of putting political correctness above life-saving measures as he ordered the funding freeze for "mismanaging" the pandemic.

April 15 2020 - 14:16

Lockdown food parcel run reveals 19 kids, one adult sharing tiny Alex home

While distributing food parcels to hungry residents affected by the coronavirus lockdown in Alexandra, Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo found 19 children and one adult crammed into a two-room dwelling in the informal settlement.

April 15 2020 - 13:28

Japan firm offers spouses apartments to avoid 'coronavirus divorce'

Worried about a "coronavirus divorce"? An enterprising Japanese short-term rental firm is marketing its empty apartments as a way for stressed couples to get some time apart during the virus lockdown.

"Please consult with us before thinking about 'coronavirus divorce'," the Tokyo-based Kasoku urges customers, offering its Airbnb-like fully-furnished units as "temporary shelters" for people to escape the family, whether to work or just get some peace and quiet.

April 15 2020 - 13:14

Organisers announce new date for Vodacom Durban July

This year's Vodacom Durban July has been moved to a new date, organisers confirmed on Wednesday. 

The horse racing extravaganza, which was scheduled to take place on July 4, has been moved to July 25 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

April 15 2020 - 13:11

Two million coronavirus cases recorded globally: AFP tally

More than two million cases of the new coronavirus have been officially registered around the world, half of them in Europe, according to a tally compiled by AFP at 10am GMT on Wednesday based on official sources.

April 15 2020 - 13:04

April 15 2020 - 12:50

DA's public representatives to contribute R1.5m to Covid-19 fund

The DA's public representatives will contribute R1.5m to the Solidarity Fund set up to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19.

The party said on Wednesday its federal executive had resolved to make the donation to help small businesses in distress as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Notwithstanding this overall contribution, DA public representatives are at liberty to make any additional financial contributions as individuals if they wish to do so," said party spokesperson Solly Malatsi.

April 15 2020 - 12:39

Checkers in Ballito closes as employee tests positive for Covid-19

In a statement, the Shoprite Group confirmed that the store was closed. 

“The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and Department of Health were informed. The store was closed immediately and a professional decontamination company has been brought in to sanitise and deep clean.”

April 15 2020 - 12:25

‘Beer poured over his head, choked, kicked, hit with machine gun’: how Collin Khosa died in Alex

In a legal letter of demand sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the family of Collin Khosa has explained in detail what happened when he died in Alexandra on Good Friday.

Khosa was allegedly killed by defence force (SANDF) soldiers in the township, north of Johannesburg.

“Preliminary medical opinion is that the cause of death is directly related to the assault by the members of the SANDF,” read the letter of demand.

April 15 2020 -11:48

Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni hardest hit Covid-19 districts in Gauteng

Of the 909 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in Gauteng, 62 have needed to be hospitalised, the provincial health department said on Wednesday.

“We are encouraged by the fact that most cases have not needed hospitalisation. Out of the people who were confirmed positive there are 399 recoveries in the province,” said a statement from the office of health MEC Bandile Masuku.

April 15 2020 - 11:42

One million coronavirus cases reported in Europe 

More than one million cases of the coronavirus have been detected in Europe, just over half the global total, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official sources at 0830 GMT Wednesday.

With at least 1,003,284 cases, including 84,465 deaths, Europe is the worst hit continent. Globally, 1,991,019 COVID-19 infections and 125,955 deaths have been registered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. Many countries are testing only the most serious cases.


April 15 2020 - 11:42

EU to host May 4 donor conference for coronavirus vaccine search

The European Union will host an online conference on May 4 for governments and organisations to pledge money to support the search for a vaccine to the novel coronavirus, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

"To support this global initiative, funding is needed," Von der Leyen told a joint news conference with European Council President Charles Michel. "I hope that countries and organisations all over the world will respond to this call," she said. 


April 15 2020 - 11:22

Coronavirus has slipped into the military community, says SANDF

Four people in the military community have tested positive for the coronavirus, the surgeon-general of the SA National Defence Force said on Wednesday.

The SANDF said those who had tested positive were not soldiers deployed to help in the coronavirus lockdown operations but had links to the defence force.

April 15 2020 - 11:26

Lockdown away from home, the perspective of South Africans across the world

With spiraling numbers of global confirmed Covid-19 cases, social distancing and quarantine measures have been instituted across much of the world, with stay-at-home orders implemented by most governments.

Global coronavirus cases are approaching 2 million, with more than 126,000 deaths .

Six South Africans living on different continents amid the pandemic, share their experiences of what lockdown is like away from home.

April 15 2020 - 11:08

AfriForum hauls tourism minister to court over 'racist' Covid-19 relief aid

Contentious lobby group AfriForum has hauled the department of tourism to court in an urgent bid to overturn race criteria which determine which businesses score state-sponsored Covid-19 relief bailouts.

At the heart of the looming legal battle is the R200m Tourism Relief Fund, announced by minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane as a buffer for businesses in the tourism sector which have been severely affected by the national lockdown.

April 15 2020 - 10:39

US may need to extend social distancing for virus until 2022, study says

The United States may need to endure social distancing measures adopted during the coronavirus outbreak until 2022, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.

The study comes as more than 2,200 people died in the United States from the outbreak on Tuesday, a record, according to a Reuters tally, even as the country debated how to reopen its economy.

The overall death toll in the US from the virus stands at more than 28,300 as of Tuesday.

April 15 2020 - 10:20

Saffas drink too much

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says alcohol sales should be regulated even after the lockdown comes to an end.

Briefing the media on Tuesday during his visit to a Covid-19 food bank storage in Ekurhuleni, Pretoria, Makhura said Gauteng would apply strict measures to deal with people who consumed alcohol and misbehaved.

April 15 2020 - 10:19

#WhatILearntDuringLockDown, social media users reflected on what has now become the new norm

Twenty days into lockdown and South Africans are reflecting on the lessons the it has taught them this far.

April 15 2020 - 10:15

The world will need more than one Covid-19 vaccine, GSK CEO says

The world will need more than one Covid-19 vaccine so drug companies must partner in the race to develop the weapons to fight the novel coronavirus, GlaxoSmithKline Chief Executive Officer Emma Walmsley said on Wednesday.

GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Sanofi SA said on Tuesday they would develop a vaccine to fight the fast-spreading coronavirus.

The drugmakers said they expect to start clinical trials for the vaccine in the second half of this year. If successful, the vaccine would be available in the second half of 2021.

April 15 2020 - 10:07

Dis-Chem store in Joburg mall closed after staff member tests positive for Covid-19

A Dis-Chem pharmacy at the Blubird Shopping Centre in Johannesburg has been closed after a staff member tested positive for Covid-19.

Dis-Chem's national clinic manager, Lizeth Kruger, said in a statement that a staff member had tested positive and had been sent home to self-isolate and seek medical care, if necessary.

“The store was closed [Tuesday] and a professional cleaning service, complete with staff in hazmat suits, has been brought in to thoroughly deep clean the whole shop. The store will reopen on Friday,” said the statement.

April 15 2020 - 9:31

99-year-old WWII veteran beats coronavirus

A 99-year-old World War II veteran in Brazil was released from hospital with military honors Tuesday after recovering from the coronavirus.

Second Lieutenant Ermando Piveta, who served in the Brazilian artillery in Africa during the Second World War, was brought out of Brasilia's Armed Forces Hospital to trumpet music and applause.

Wearing an army-green side cap, he raised his arms in the air as he left after eight days as a patient.

Brazilian 99-year-old former WWII combatant Ermando Armelino Piveta, gestures as leaves the Armed Forces Hospital in Brasilia, after being treated for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and discharged, on April 14, 2020.
Brazilian 99-year-old former WWII combatant Ermando Armelino Piveta, gestures as leaves the Armed Forces Hospital in Brasilia, after being treated for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and discharged, on April 14, 2020.

April 15 2020 - 9:22

US hits record 2,228 deaths in past 24 hours: Johns Hopkins tally

The United States recorded 2,228 deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic over the past 24 hours, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University as of 8:30 pm Tuesday (0030 GMT Wednesday).

The number of fatalities was a sharp increase after two days in decline. 

The outbreak has now claimed the lives of at least 25,757 people in the US, the most of any country.  AFP 

April 15 2020 - 9:10

Netcare's Kingsway trauma unit closed after patient and staff test positive for Covid-19

Netcare Kingsway Hospital in Amanzimtoti, south of Durban, stopped admitting new patients on Tuesday after it emerged that staff had tested positive for Covid-19. 

A hospital receptionist told TimesLIVE on Wednesday morning that the hospital was on divert. 

“Unfortunately, we are not admitting new patients at the moment,” she said.

National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) provincial secretary Ayanda Zulu confirmed that the trauma unit had been closed on Tuesday after a patient and staff tested positive.

April 15 2020 - 8:28

'We are all worried about our health - they never even tested us', says inmate

The total number of infections in the Eastern Cape was 175 on Tuesday afternoon.

Of these,  53 inmates and 24 correctional services officials in the province have tested positive for the virus.

The East London Correctional Centre, where the virus has spread rapidly, has the bulk of the correctional services cases  — 76.

Besides the St Albans case and those at the East London prison, a correctional services official at the department’s head office in Pretoria has also tested positive.

Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said 34 officials at St Albans had already been placed in quarantine

April 15 2020 - 8:12

Trump freezes WHO funds as world weighs lockdown lift

Donald Trump ordered a freeze on funding for the World Health Organization for "mismanaging" the coronavirus crisis, as world leaders weighed easing lockdowns that threaten to tip the global economy into a second Great Depression.

The death toll from the pandemic has topped 125,000, with nearly two million people infected by the disease that has upended society and changed lives for billions around the globe confined to their homes.

Across the planet, leaders are agonising over when to lift lockdown measures to jump-start devastated economies but still avoid a second wave of infections. 

April 15 2020 - 8:00

Boxes and packages 'are safe' during the Covid-19 outbreak, say experts

It’s safe to handle packaged goods during the coronavirus outbreak, an industry body says.

And it cites some weighty research to back this up.

Police clashed with Mitchells Plain residents on Tuesday afternoon. File photo.
Police clashed with Mitchells Plain residents on Tuesday afternoon. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander

April 15 2020 - 07:00

Police disperse angry residents who break lockdown rules 

Several people were arrested and stores looted after protests over expected food parcel deliveries at Mitchells Plain in Cape Town.

Police spokesperson Brig Novela Potelwa said residents from Tafelsig took to the streets on Tuesday after allegedly being promised food parcels.

Several roads were barricaded with burning tyres and rocks.

April 15 2020 - 07:00

How a robot is helping Tygerberg specialists deal with pandemic

Intensive care specialists at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town have a new infection-resistant “colleague” helping them do ward rounds on Covid-19 patients.

That colleague is a robot named Quintin, who stands as an example of how the pandemic has brought ingenuity and collaboration to the fore.

The robot, made by Double Robotics, has been employed to help specialists do “virtual” ward rounds if they are unable to be present — even from home.

April 15 2020 - 06:56

POLL | Are you keeping fit or nah during the lockdown?

Post the lockdown, there will be two types of people: those who achieved their fitness goals and those who will rush to the gym to shed all the weight gained from indulging in their favourite foods and binge-watching shows on Netflix.

Since the lockdown started on March 26, South Africans have adopted different approaches as some continue to work hard on their fitness while others are spending more time in the kitchen making their favourite treats.

Take our poll and let us know if you are keeping fit or not during this lockdown.

April 15 2020 - 11:08

AfriForum hauls tourism minister to court over 'racist' Covid-19 relief aid

Contentious lobby group AfriForum has hauled the department of tourism to court in an urgent bid to overturn race criteria which determine which businesses score state-sponsored Covid-19 relief bailouts.

At the heart of the looming legal battle is the R200m Tourism Relief Fund, announced by minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane as a buffer for businesses in the tourism sector which have been severely affected by the national lockdown.