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COVID-19 WRAP | Covid-19 infections surpass 8,000 mark & Duduzane Zuma says lockdown will cause unrest

07 May 2020 - 08:02 By TimesLIVE
Health minister Zweli Mkhize during the handing over of personal protective equipment by Ithuba lottery fund on 7 May 2020.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize during the handing over of personal protective equipment by Ithuba lottery fund on 7 May 2020.
Image: GCIS

May 7 2020 - 21:28

WATCH | Ramaphosa's lockdown will cause 'social unrest': Duduzane Zuma

May 7 2020 - 21:24

424 new Covid-19 cases in SA as total passes 8,000

There was another big jump in the number of Covid-19 cases in SA, as confirmed cases passed 8,000.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday that there were 424 new cases of the respiratory illness, taking the national total to 8,232. The new figures were based on 12,774 tests.

May 7 2020 - 20:04

WATCH LIVE | Ithuba Holdings to handover PPEs to minister Zweli Mkhize

May 7 2020 - 19:24

You can move house during lockdown, according to new regulations

From now until June 7, government will allow people to move house despite the ongoing national lockdown.

This is according to regulations published in a government gazette and dated May 7. Co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma signed the gazette.

According to the document, the new regulations allow the “movement of persons and goods” within SA during level 4 of the lockdown. It is, however, a “once-off” only.

May 7 2020 - 17:45

Walkers warned to beware of muggers during three-hour exercise window

Be careful on your morning jog or walk, security company Fidelity ADT has warned, because opportunistic cellphone muggers could pounce.

The security firm warned that opportunistic criminals could use the three-hour window for outdoor exercise to target people.

“We have received numerous reports of theft of electronic devices such as cellphones from joggers, walkers and cyclists, and even laptops and iPads through open windows or unlocked doors,” said Fidelity ADT spokesperson Charnel Hattingh.

May 7 2020 - 17:44

WATCH | 1,000 hungry primary school pupils get Gift of the Givers food parcels

Pupils from Nomzamo Primary School outside Cape Town received food parcels from the Gift of the Givers on May 7 2020. The school's principal, Thandeka Hazel Fandese, said children in the area were pleading for food as they had been struggling since the start of the lockdown.

May 7 2020 - 17:11

Business for SA sounds Covid-19 mental health warning

Business for SA (B4SA) has issued a stark warning about the mental health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, saying the enormous stress and anxiety facing employers and the workforce will be felt for years to come.

SA is entering its seventh week of a stringent national lockdown, which has seen the government impose sweeping restrictions on trade, travel, drinking, smoking and social interaction. B4SA this week painted a bleak picture of the economic outlook for SA, projecting GDP could fall 10.3%-6.7% in 2020.

“We are justifiably focused on the here and now of the pandemic, but I believe there is a looming, second-order mental health crisis that is only beginning to emerge,” said B4SA’s public outreach workstream head Judy Nwokedi, who is also COO of Tourvest.  

May 7 2020 - 17:08

Africa disease centre rejects Tanzania's claim its coronavirus tests are faulty

The head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday rejected an assertion by Tanzania's president that coronavirus tests it supplied are faulty.

Tanzania's government spokesperson said a team was conducting investigations on the laboratory that conducted the tests, and the outcome will be made public once complete. The World Health Organisation (WHO) expressed confidence in the tests.

On Sunday, Tanzanian President John Magufuli said the imported test kits were faulty after they had returned positive results on a goat and a pawpaw - among several non-human samples submitted for testing, with technicians left deliberately unaware of their origins.

May 7 2020 - 17:05

Government gets ally in cigarette ban case as lawyer body applies to join in

The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) will join the government in opposing the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) court challenge to the ban on sales of tobacco and related products.

In a statement, Nadel said it would join the case as a friend of the court when Fita goes head-to-head with President Cyril Ramaphosa and co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

May 7 2020 - 16:36

Addicts 'injecting and drinking' alcohol-based hand sanitisers

The ban on alcohol during the lockdown has seen addicts turning to alcohol-based hand sanitisers for a “quick fix”.

Dr Gerhard Verdoorn, from the Griffon Poison Information Centre, said there had been a surge in alcohol abuse in the country since the government instituted a nationwide lockdown and a ban on alcohol and cigarettes.

Desperate addicts inject the liquid directly into their veins or muscles or they drink it to get their fix, he said.

May 7 2020 - 16:07

60% of those with Covid-19 in Gauteng have got better: David Makhura

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Gauteng is 1,720 while 61% of those who tested positive since March 6 have recovered.

Premier David Makhura announced the figures during a provincial command council weekly update on Thursday.

May 7 2020 - 15:58

Kids fed up under lockdown send 'lawyer's letter' to mom

A lighthearted post shared by one parent on Twitter revealed that it's been just as tough for children as it has been for parents being cooped up indoors.

Bulelwa Mabasa on Thursday said she had been served with an authentic looking “cease and desist” letter from her two children, who were tired of being disciplined and forced to do household chores.

May 7 2020 - 15:52

Province needs to balance health needs with opening the economy - WC premier Alan Winde

Western Cape premier Alan Winde said on Thursday that he “really would not like to go back to level 5 lockdown" because the province needs to open its economy.

He appealed to residents to help prevent this.

The Western Cape has 4,049 people with Covid-19 — almost half the people infected in SA — and 76 people had died of it in the province.

May 7 2020 - 15:39

'Raging epidemic' by month end - and lockdown just destroying the economy

The country's hard Covid-19 lockdown has “completely failed” in vulnerable densely populated urban communities, prompting concern that SA will have a “raging epidemic” by month end, experts said on Thursday.

Prof Alex van den Heever, chair of social security at the Wits School of Governance said  there was inadequate upscaling of testing and contact tracing — which was supposed to have been implemented during the first 35 days of the lockdown.

Prof Shabir Madhi, an infectious diseases expert, said the country is ready to be on level 2 in terms of public response to measures.

May 7 2020 - 15:03

Potchefstroom community health centre closes after nurse tests positive for Covid-19

North West health MEC Madoda Sambatha said that a nurse at the Promosa Community Health Centre in Potchefstroom had tested positive for Covid-19.

As a result, the department decided to close the facility for decontamination.

The MEC said a mobile clinic had been deployed “to ensure access and continued service delivery until decontamination of the facility”.

May 7 2020 - 15:00

Don't try open schools early, education department warns

The basic education department has warned schools against reopening prematurely, after it became aware that some private and public schools were planning to receive pupils before June 1.

During a media briefing last week, basic education minister Angie Motshekga said the proposed date for the return of grade 12 and 7 pupils was June 1.

On Thursday, the department said in a statement that, at some schools, teachers have already been reporting for duty and parents' meetings have been held where plans were announced to have pupils back in school in May.

May 7 2020 - 14:54

Pharmacy group to pay R30,000 settlement for excessive markups on face masks

A pharmacy group accused of charging excessive prices for face masks and hand sanitisers at its Nelspruit and Pretoria branches has agreed to pay a R30,000 fine and make a donation to the solidarity fund for Covid-19.

The agreement to pay a R30,000 fine and the R3,875 donation are two consent agreements that the Van Heerden Group reached with the Competition Commission.

The settlement of R30,000, which is applicable to the Nelspruit branch, and the solidarity fund donation, which is applicable to the Pretoria branch, form part of two separate consent agreements that the pharmacy group reached with the commission.

May 7 2020 - 14:33

EP cricketer Nqweni‚ who is recovering from immune disorder‚ tests positive for Covid-19

Eastern Province cricketer Solomzi Nqweni has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The 26-year-old fast-bowling all-rounder‚ who is recovering from Guillain-Barre syndrome‚ announced on Twitter that he’s a Covid-19 statistic.

“So last year I got GBS‚ and have been battling this disease for the past 10 months and I’m only half way through my recovery. I got TB‚ my liver failed and my kidney failed. Now today I tested positive for coronavirus. I don’t understand why all of this is happening to me‚” Nqweni announced on Twitter.

May 7 2020 - 14:21

MotoGP intends to start season in July with races in Jerez

MotoGP has proposed starting its season, after months of delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with two races on consecutive weekends in July at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain.

It said in a statement on Thursday that the regional government of Andalusia, the city council of Jerez and series promoters Dorna had agreed to make a proposal to the Spanish government.

If approved, Jerez would host MotoGP grands prix on July 19 and 26 as well as a round of the world superbike championship on August 2.

May 7 2020 - 13:58

Western Cape's 1.8% Covid-19 death rate not abnormal, says premier

The Covid-19 death rate in the Western Cape is not abnormal and in line with the progression of the disease elsewhere in the world, premier Alan Winde said on Thursday.

The Western Cape has almost half of the reported Covid-19 deaths and positive cases in SA, prompting concerns that there may be factors peculiar to the province driving up the provincial death rate.

However, Winde said the death rate of 1.8% was the same as elsewhere in the world and most likely the same as elsewhere in the country. Discrepancies in the figures could be explained by differing testing protocols, the premier said.

May 7 2020 - 13:51

Has your employer received UIF funding? Here’s how to find out

With thousands of businesses being forced to close for the duration of the Covid-19 national lockdown, South Africans are struggling with huge financial burdens, with many not being paid their full salaries or put on forced unpaid leave.

The Covid-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) has been set up by the government to give assistance by offering special payouts to people who have been affected.

To check if your employer is one of them, you can download the full list by clicking here to visit the UIF-Covid-19 TERS national disaster application system website.

May 7 2020 - 13:48

Prasa has lost R199m due to Covid-19, will resume operations on level 3

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an enormous financial impact on Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), with revenue loss estimated at R199m since the lockdown period began.

Prasa administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo said this revenue loss has resulted in further cash constraints on an already strained financial situation. He said the projected revenue loss for the year at this stage was R757m.

Mpondo also said train operations will resume under level 3 of the lockdown, adding that Prasa has put precautions in place to limit community transmission and outbreaks.

May 7 2020 - 13:45

May 7 2020 - 13:39

Police and army crack down on non-compliance in KZN capital

KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula and provincial police were in Pietermaritzburg to lock down the city after complaints about non-compliance on Thursday.

Jula told TimesLIVE that while most residents were complying with the lockdown restrictions, some were “going about like nothing has happened”.

May 7 2020 - 13:22

Western Cape travellers bring at least 56 Covid-19 cases to Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape health department says 56 people who travelled to the province from the Western Cape have tested positive for Covid-19.

Spokesperson Sizwe Kupela said 2,090 people had been tested at the provincial borders at Tsitsikamma and Aberdeen, while 29,516 people were screened.

Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba said: “We understand that interprovincial travelling is allowed, but having so many people who have tested positive for Covid-19 coming to the Eastern Cape undermines the good work that we have been doing and continue doing."

May 7 2020 - 13:16

WATCH | Business booms for wheelbarrow delivery service during lockdown

Thulasizwe Ntshangase is one of over 200 people in Olievenhoutbosch township, north of Johannesburg, who work under The Wheelbarrow Association. They run a service that delivers food parcels to community members during the Covid-19 lockdown, at a small fee, using wheelbarrows and trolleys. The youth in the community recognised the business opportunity when some people found the food parcels too heavy to carry to their homes.

May 7 2020 - 12:55

Orlando Pirates midfielder Ben Motshwari tests positive for Covid-19

Orlando Pirates have confirmed that their midfielder Ben Motshwari has tested positive for coronavirus.

Motshwari becomes the first local footballer to test positive for the virus. The 29-year-old will now be in isolation for the next two weeks.

“The player is asymptomatic and is currently in isolation for the next 14 days. He will need to test negative before he is cleared. In accordance with relevant protocols, NHI has been notified of the case by the club," the club said on its website.

May 7 2020 - 12:49

Pakistan to lift lockdown, despite rising Covid-19 curve

Pakistan's coronavirus lockdown will be lifted on Saturday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said, despite the fact that the number of cases in the country is still accelerating.

The decision is being taken because the country's large number of poor people and labourers cannot not afford to live under lockdown any more, he said on Thursday.

"We're deciding that we are ending this lockdown now," Khan said in a televised address. "We know that we're doing it at a time when our curve is going up.... but it is not edging up as we were expecting."

Pakistan, which has undergone a five-week lockdown, has reported 24,073 coronavirus cases with 564 deaths, and recorded its highest single-day increase of 1,523 cases on Thursday.

- Reuters

May 7 2020 - 12:24

China says it backs WHO in tracing Covid-19, denounces US 'lies'

China said on Thursday it supports the World Health Organisation (WHO) in trying to pinpoint the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and accused US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of telling one lie after another in his attacks on Beijing.

Pompeo accused China of withholding virus samples he said were needed for global vaccine research, and he demanded transparency. Most experts believe Covid-19 originated in a market selling wildlife and jumped from animals to people, but Pompeo and US President Donald Trump have said there is evidence it came from a laboratory, without elaborating.

Pompeo also accused the WHO of being too slow to respond to the disease and said it "needs to still demand that there be an investigation" in China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, addressing reporters in Beijing on Thursday, said China supported WHO efforts to investigate the origin of the pandemic.

"We are always open to cooperate with the WHO on matters, including on the question of origin," she said. 

Hua said Pompeo had contradicted himself in interviews about the virus. "The reason why he contradicts himself is because he is always making up a lie to cover up another lie. This is an open secret."

- Reuters

May 7 2020 - 12:04

Virgin Atlantic to reintroduce flights from London to Cape Town in November

Despite airlines worldwide feeling the pinch due to Covid-19, Virgin Atlantic plans to reintroduce flights between Heathrow, London, and Cape Town from November.

The airline's CEO Shai Weiss said preparations to relaunch its passenger services are well under way.

“While the past few months have been difficult, we are confident about what the future holds and we are excited to welcome our travellers back on board soon,” said Weiss.

May 7 2020 - 12:01

Russia overtakes Germany and France as coronavirus case numbers surge

Russia's coronavirus case tally surged to 177,160 on Thursday after a record daily rise in infections, meaning it now has the fifth-highest number of registered cases in the world and more cases than in Germany or France.

The number of new cases of the novel virus jumped by 11,231 in the last 24 hours, the country's coronavirus taskforce said.

More than half of all cases and deaths are in Moscow, the epicentre of Russia's outbreak, which on Thursday reported a record overnight increase of 6,703 new cases.

Russia's official death toll, which remains far lower than in many countries, rose to 1,625 after 88 people died overnight, the taskforce said.

May 7 2020 - 11:56

May 7 2020 - 11:29

Third Covid-19 related death in Limpopo during heart surgery

Limpopo has recorded its third Covid-19 related fatality.

The provincial health department said on Thursday the latest fatality was a 76-year-old man with a heart condition. He died at the Netcare Pholoso hospital.  

May 7 2020 - 11:14

Government bends lockdown rules to repatriate foreigners after riots at Lindela

The government was forced to bend lockdown regulations and open the border to allow foreign nationals awaiting deportation to be allowed to cross and return to their home countries.

This was revealed by home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi in an interview with the SABC on Thursday morning.

The decision to send the immigrants home during the coronavirus lockdown comes after 37 of those detained at the centre, all believed to be from Lesotho, escaped at the weekend. 

May 7 2020 - 11:02

A 'coronasaurus' went shopping in the Western Cape - and customers loved it

With the persistent uncertainty on when the coronavirus pandemic will end, people are going to extreme measures when in public spaces to practise social distancing. Yup, for some wearing a face mask and having an alcohol-based hand sanitiser simply isn't enough.

Plumstead Pick n Pay in the Western Cape on Wednesday shared a picture of an “unexpected visitor” who wore an inflatable T-Rex costume while going about the store, much to the amusement of customers who encountered it.

May 7 2020 - 10:55

South Africans stuck in Morocco plead for money to get them home

About R6,500 has been raised  for 34 South Africans stranded in Morocco by flight restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

The South Africans, who have been stuck in Morocco more than a month, are pleading for funds to pay for repatriation as they continue to battle with finances and resources.

The group, through a crowdfunding page, is asking for anything from $1 (R18,61) to help raise $25,000 (around R465,000) to pay for a chartered CemAir fight to get them home.

May 7 2020 - 10:54

eNCA anchors off air but 'not suspended' after Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma remarks

eNCA news anchors Xoli Mngambi and Jane Dutton have not been seen on air since apologising for an editorial earlier in the week criticising co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for “undermining” President Cyril Ramaphosa.

There has been mounting speculation that the pair have been suspended with 702 talk show host Eusebius McKaiser tweeting that staff were told about the suspensions on Wednesday.

A different team of news anchors were doing the morning show on Thursday.

May 7 2020 - 10:20

'This is bigger than the Soweto uprising': Coconut Kelz mocks Cape Town surfers protest

Comedian and satirist Lesego Tlhabi, better known by her stage name Coconut Kelz, has weighed in on the recent protest by Cape Town residents who demanded to continue surfing during the lockdown.

She also took a jab at controversial media personality Gareth Cliff, who recently wrote an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, in which he said he was tempted to break the lockdown regulations to get back at the government for backtracking on the cigarettes ban.

“I'm here for the surf protest — just following in the footsteps of our freedom fighters Gareth Luther Cliff Junior. I think it's important that we're here and we make our voices heard,” she said.

May 7 2020 - 9:57

Earth has gone quieter in lockdown. And that's a good thing, say scientists

Earth has responded to the pandemic in a positive way. As people have retreated into their homes, the planet has grown quieter.

Coinciding with lockdown and social distancing measures put in place in countries across the world, satellites detected a decrease in the amount of nitrogen dioxide, a harmful gas emitted by power plants, industrial activity and cars.

Professor Paida Mhangara, head of the Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies School at Wits, says it's also expected that the temperatures in urban areas will reduce with lockdowns in place.

May 7 2020 - 9:50

Parliament's Zoom meeting hacked with porn images, racial abuse

The National Assembly programming committee's meeting was hacked with porn images on Thursday morning, with the hacker also racially abusing speaker Thandi Modise who was chairing the virtual meeting.

The meeting had barely started at 9am, literally 50 seconds in, and was still dealing with the first item on the agenda when porn images appeared on the screen.

May 7 2020 - 8:13

These are the fines you will get for selling booze and ciggies

Anyone who breaks the lockdown regulations could be liable for an admission of guilt fine of as much as R5,000.

The judiciary has released a list of charges under the Disaster Management Act, accompanied by fines attached to each of them.

Selling liquor and tobacco are among the offences that will attract at R5,000 fine.

May 7 2020 - 07:55

If you've lost your income due to the lockdown, your options are limited

Ronny* is a member of Discovery Health medical scheme. His premium this month was R2,384, including Vitality. He earns money as a consultant, but demand for his services dried up, along with his income, under the lockdown.

Fortunately, Ronny has been able to draw some income for May from his new start-up, and has accumulated enough savings to cover his medical scheme payment. But Ronny says that without his savings, he would not be able to maintain his health insurance.

May 7 2020 - 07:03

Government is planning to introduce a new electronic driving licence card 

Transport department director-general Alec Moemi told parliament on Wednesday that they are working on a more durable driving licence card, with improved security features. It is set to be introduced within the next two years.

Moemi said there was a huge need for the modernisation of licences.

May 7 2020 - 07:00

Fur babies are also feeling the Covid blues

Noticed something unusual about your pup?  Well, lockdown stress can make your pet sick.

May 7 2020 - 06:30

116-year-old has survived more than a century, including the brutal apartheid era, however, he needs his tobacco

All Fredie Blom wants for his 116th birthday on Friday is something he cannot get under lockdown: tobacco to roll his own cigarettes.

A tall man with a smoky-grey beard below his mask, Blom could be the oldest man alive -despite “smoking like a chimney” all his life, according to his wife Janneta.

“He is stressed about having no more tobacco. He used to roll his own with newspaper, that was his hobby,” she says. “Nothing can comfort him now.”

May 7 2020 - 06:01

The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union is polling its members for their views on theThe SA Democratic Teachers’ Union is polling its members for their views on the reopening of schools.

It is adamant that no school will be allowed to open until minimum requirements are met.

May 7 2020 - 06:00

Emergency workers make their own Covid-19 protective equipment

Emergency medical services (EMS) workers in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, resorted to using plastic sheets, duct tape and bed covers to protect themselves while transporting patients at the weekend.

But the Western Cape health department says workers have been given sufficient personal protective equipment.

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