COVID-19 WRAP | Western Cape government tightens testing regulations as SA cases climb to 37,525

03 June 2020 - 07:53 By TimesLIVE
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Unite Against the Tobacco Ban and the general public outside parliament in Cape Town demanding for the ban on tobacco, tobacco products, e-cigarettes and related products be lifted with immediate effect on June 2 2020.​
Unite Against the Tobacco Ban and the general public outside parliament in Cape Town demanding for the ban on tobacco, tobacco products, e-cigarettes and related products be lifted with immediate effect on June 2 2020.​

June 3 2020 - 21:34

Eastern Cape following same Covid-19 'pattern' as Western Cape, says Mkhize as SA cases climb to 37,525

The government is worried about the increase in Covid-19 cases in the Eastern Cape, as cases across the country climbed to 37,525 by Wednesday night.

Of those cases, 4,526 were in the Eastern Cape - which was third behind the Western Cape (24,657) and Gauteng (4.567) in terms of the number of cases recorded.

A week ago, the Eastern Cape had recorded 3,047 cases, meaning there have been an additional 1,479 cases in the past seven days.

June 3 2020 -19:23

Ban on cigarettes will not make people quit smoking, Fita tells high court

The government's claim that banning cigarette sales would make people give up smoking is "untenable and not supported by evidence".

This is according to court papers filed by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita), in response to a affidavit by Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma last week on reasons why the government took the decision to ban the sale of cigarettes.

Fita is currently embroiled in a high court case against the government over the controversial ban, which was instituted under the initial coronavirus lockdown and was reaffirmed under level 3, even while the ban on the sale of alcohol was lifted.

June 3 2020 -18:07

Fikile Mbalula satisfied that OR Tambo is ready for domestic flights

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says he is satisfied with the measures put in place at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg as domestic travel resumes in level 3 of the lockdown.

Airports Company SA (Acsa) CEO Mpumi Mpofu accompanied Mbalula on Wednesday as he tested the airport’s state of readiness in anticipation of a gradual increase in air travel for business purposes over the next few weeks.

Mbalula's tour of the airport took him through each stage of the passenger’s journey: from arrival at the airport, through access control and screening, to check-in, security checkpoints and to the boarding of an aircraft.

June 3 2020 - 17:53

No more Covid-19 testing for 'healthy' Cape Town residents

If you are younger than 55, don't have a chronic illness and live in Cape Town, then you're not going to be tested for Covid-19 - even if you develop symptoms.

This as the Western Cape government tightens its testing regulations because of a shortage of testing kits.

Premier Alan Winde said a decision had to be made after the backlog of tests in the public sector grew to about 27,000 for the Western Cape alone. Winde said the move was to save lives.

June 3 2020 - 17:42

Spain reports first new Covid-19 death since Sunday, total at 27,128

Spain on Wednesday reported its first death from the coronavirus since Sunday, health ministry data showed, bringing the country's cumulative death toll up to 27,128.

Confirmed cases of the disease increased by 219 from the previous day to 240,326, according to the ministry.

- Reuters

June 3 2020 - 17:06

Picture with Dlamini-Zuma 'used to suit a certain narrative': Mazzotti

Cigarette trader Adriano Mazzotti has denied allegations that he had corruptly engineered the ban on cigarette sales to benefit the illicit cigarette industry.

He also disputed claims that he is friends with co-operative governance & traditional affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

“It's a completely untrue story. I have no relationship with minister Dlamini-Zuma. I have met her a couple of times. Both times I met her were informal meetings when other people were there,” he said during an interview with eNCA's Checkpoint on Tuesday.

June 3 2020 - 16:29

Dutch school shuts after teachers test positive for Covid-19

An elementary school in the Netherlands closed in the city of The Hague on Wednesday after two teachers tested positive for coronavirus and seven students developed gastrointestinal symptoms, an official said.

It was the first to close again after the Netherlands, which has reported more than 46,000 Covid-19 cases and 5,977 deaths, reopened elementary schools on May 11 at reduced capacity as part of a gradual lifting of lockdown measures. High schools reopened on Tuesday.

"Two teachers developed symptoms over the weekend and tested positive today," said Eke Wolters, a spokeswoman for the "Haagse" school district, adding that they had not returned to work since becoming ill. The sick teachers had not taught the students, Wolters added.

Students who complained of stomach pain, a possible early symptom of Covid-19, were being tested.

- Reuters

June 3 2020 - 16:26

Thuli Madonsela on lockdown judgment: 'I’d be surprised if it survives scrutiny of a higher court'

Former public protector Thuli Mandosela has echoed concerns regarding the high court judgment on level 4 and 3 lockdown regulations, suggesting that the judgment was not clear, concise and accurate.

On Tuesday, the North Gauteng High Court declared that the regulations gazetted by co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma were “unconstitutional and invalid”.

Madonsela said there would have been a lot to learn from the judgment if it were more clear, concise, accurate, professionally reasoned and persuasive.

June 3 2020 - 15:47

Nearly R8bn paid to 1.5-million Gauteng workers in Covid-19 UIF benefits

Of the R16.5bn that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has disbursed as part of the Covid-19 temporary employer/employee relief scheme (Ters), almost half has gone to Gauteng, where 1,516,441 workers have benefited.

This is out of the 3,464,124 workers who have been beneficiaries of the scheme across the country.

The total amount paid out in Gauteng is R7.91bn. 

June 3 2020 - 15:42

Mayor is the latest Eastern Cape ANC official to test positive for Covid-19

OR Tambo district municipality mayor Thokozile Sokanyile has tested positive for Covid-19, the ANC confirmed on Wednesday.

Sokanyile is the latest ANC leader in the Eastern Cape to test positive for the coronavirus, after Engcobo municipality mayor Siyabulela Zangqa and Chris Hani district councillors Khaya Bizana and Yanga Zicina tested positive last week.

ANC provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi said Sokanyile was in quarantine. “We have been assured that steps have been taken to secure treatment of the executive mayor and to provide support to her family,” he said.

June 3 2020 - 15:11

June 3 2020 - 15:09

Gauteng health CFO resigns while Covid-19 cases rise to 4,276

The CFO of the Gauteng health department has resigned.

Kabelo Lehloenya tendered her resignation at the end of May citing personal reasons,  the department said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the total number of Covid-19 cases in the province as of Tuesday stood at 4,276, with 2,169 recoveries and 33 deaths.

June 3 2020 - 14:56

SA activists in George Floyd protest outside parliament - 'lockdown turned our people into scared sheep'

Activist took to parliament on Wednesday in protest over the death of George Floyd, who died at the hands of Minneapolis police in the US recently. 

Protesters, organised under the banner of the Black Solidarity Campaign, brandished placards while passing motorists hooted in solidarity. Mzimasi Sibeko, the convener of the campaign, said the death of unarmed civilians in the hands of authorities was not unique to the US.

He said the recent death of Collins Khosa, of Alexandra, Johannesburg, who allegedly died after being assaulted by soldiers was a painful reminder of the “Marikana massacre”. 

June 3 2020 - 14:50

LISTEN | Irrational regulations risk turning law-abiding citizens into criminals

In an interview with MultimediaLIVE, attorney Douw Breed, managing director of Barnard Inc Attorneys, warns that irrational and unconstitutional lockdown regulations run the risk of turning law-abiding South African citizens into criminals. 

June 3 2020 - 14:30

Court rules Covid-19 patients may not be forced into compulsory state quarantine in SA

The government may not force patients who test positive for Covid-19 into compulsory state quarantine if they are able to self-isolate, the high court in Pretoria ruled on Wednesday.

AfriForum claimed the court ruling on Wednesday as a victory after challenging  regulations signed by the co-operative governance & traditional affairs ministry under the Disaster Management Act on April 29.

“These regulations, which AfriForum regards as ... irrational, were aimed at putting everyone who tests positive for Covid-19 under compulsory state quarantine,” the lobby group said in a statement.

June 3 2020 - 14:08

Politicians react to court's judgment on 'irrational' lockdown regulations

Politicians have weighed in on the high court's judgment on level 4 and 3 lockdown regulations.

The North Gauteng High Court declared that the regulations gazetted by co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma were “unconstitutional and invalid”, TimesLIVE reported on Tuesday.

The declaration was made for alert level 4 and 3 lockdown regulations put in place to slow the spread of Covid-19.

June 3 2020 - 13:36

Lockdown judgment should have been more concise and persuasive: legal experts

The Pretoria high court judgment which has declared lockdown level 3 and 4 regulations invalid and unconstitutional, lacks specific detail on the irrationality of the rules, legal experts say.

On Tuesday, judge Norman Davis declared that the regulations promulgated by co-operative governance & traditional affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma were “unconstitutional and invalid”.

Constitutional law expert Prof Pierre de Vos told Cape Talk on Wednesday the judgment did not specify whether the invalidity of the regulations applied from when they were promulgated.

June 3 2020 - 13:17

'All students must get fair chance to finish academic year': Buti Manamela

Deputy higher education minister Buti Manamela says institutions of higher learning will forge ahead with plans to operate at 33% capacity to limit the spread of Covid-19 under level 3 of the lockdown.

Manamela was speaking on Radio 702 on Wednesday. He said engagements with various stakeholders had proven difficult as some did not buy into the idea of reopening, citing issues of inequality and accessibility.

“Our engagements have been as extensive as possible, we had to sit in long meetings. In some instances, we had to agree to disagree,” he said.

June 3 2020 - 13:09

Volunteer food handlers in Alexandra schools being trained 

June 3 2020 - 12:49

Italy reopens to tourists from Europe

Italy reopens to travellers from Europe on Wednesday, three months after the country went into coronavirus lockdown, with all hopes pinned on reviving the key tourism industry as the summer season begins.

Gondolas are ready to punt along Venice's canals, lovers will be able to act out "Romeo and Juliet" on Verona's famed balcony, and gladiator fans can pose for selfies at Rome's Colosseum.

But there were fears many foreign tourists would be put off coming to a country still shaking off a vicious pandemic.

June 3 2020 - 12:48

Shuls advised to remain closed until at least mid-June

Synagogues in SA are set to remain closed for at least another two weeks to ensure safety precautions are in place, in line with regulations imposed under level 3 lockdown.

In a letter to the Jewish community on Wednesday, chief rabbi Warren Goldstein said since the announcement of a resumption of religious services under strict conditions, a series of meetings and consultations had been held with a range of stakeholders involved at all levels of shul leadership, as well as medical experts.

June 3 2020 - 11:42

Court needs time to prep for teachers' union bid to stop schools reopening

The Pretoria high court says it needs time to prepare before it can hear an application by the Educators' Union of SA for an interdict against the government's plan to partially open schools.

Schooling for grade 7 and 12 pupils is set to resume on Monday June 8.

June 3 2020 - 11:26

To slaughter or not to slaughter? Debate and confusion under level 3

To slaughter or not to slaughter? The question has caused confusion between the government, traditional experts and cultural practitioners over the level 3 regulations that kicked in on Monday.

Co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s office told DispatchLIVE on Friday that slaughtering livestock was not allowed under level 3, prompting traditional expert Loyiso Nqevu to ask how indigenous people would be able to perform and uphold their beliefs.

Most Xhosa rituals and ceremonies require a cow, goat or sheep to be slaughtered.

June 3 2020 - 11:09

FlySafair flights back on sale — with 'block a seat' option for extra R750

Low-cost airline FlySafair has started selling tickets again for business travel between Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

From June 15, travellers with a permit can expect to pay just over R3,000 for a return flight between Johannesburg and Cape Town, and just over R1,700 for a one-way flight to Cape Town from Johannesburg.

In addition, there is a mandatory R20 “Covid-19 fee” for all passengers flying during the pandemic. The R20 is to cover the temperature screening before boarding, hand sanitiser, face masks and aircraft sanitisation.

June 3 2020 - 10:57

#Lockdown trends as court says some regulations irrational and invalid

Many have taken to Twitter to react to the North Gauteng High Court's Tuesday ruling that some lockdown regulations are “irrational” and “invalid”. 

Judge Norman Davis said regulations pertaining to funerals, visiting family and those prohibiting informal traders and hairdressers from earning an income, needed to be amended as they are “unconstitutional”. He gave Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma 14 days to make the necessary changes.

In the meantime, the current lockdown regulations still apply.

June 3 2020 - 12:25

‘Amazed’ Cuban doctors say ‘dumelang’ to their SA adventure

SA was not what one Cuban doctor expected, so it was quite a "wow" moment when he arrived.

He and other specialists talk about what impresses them about their Covid-19 stint in Mzansi.

June 3 2020 - 10:24

British PM Johnson is in charge of coronavirus response, junior minister says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in charge of the government's coronavirus response and always has been, a junior minister said on Wednesday after a report that Johnson was taking control of the crisis.

With a suspected COVID-19 death toll of nearly 50,000, Britain has been one of the worst hit countries in the world and the government has faced criticism for being too slow to impose a lockdown, too slow to protect the elderly in nursing homes and too slow to build a test and trace system.

The Telegraph newspaper said Johnson was taking back control of the crisis with a Downing Street shakeup: two committees will make decisions about the government's response.

June 3 2020 - 10:22 

North West school to remain closed after principal tests positive for Covid-19

A 56-year-old North West principal has tested positive for Covid-19 after feeling ill this week, said the provincial department of education on Wednesday.

Spokesperson Elias Malindi said the principal reported he was unwell on Monday and proceeded to see a doctor.

June 3 2020 - 09:53

Mbalula visits OR Tambo Airport to ensure Covid-19 regulations are adhered to

June 3 2020 - 08:55

Remove restrictions on Covid-19 relief funds: Nafcoc plea to government

The National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry is urging the government to demonstrably come out in support of struggling small business owners whose enterprises have been severely affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.

“It is our considered view that all businesses were indiscriminately affected by the Covid-19 restrictions and, therefore, government and other institutions should extend a helping hand to these struggling businesses without insistence on restrictive preconditions,” said Nafcoc.

June 3 2020 - 08:48

No life in danger from testing backlog: Mkhize

Amid fears over a Covid-19 test result backlog, health minister Zweli Mkhize has assured that “no life is compromised by the backlog”.

A positive result does not change a doctor’s clinical management of someone with symptoms, he insists.

June 3 2020 - 08:46

Government makes second attempt to delay tobacco ban court case

The government has made a second attempt to delay the hearing of the first major legal challenge to the controversial cigarette ban, appealing to the high court again for the matter to be delayed.

The government, which is facing an increase in court cases related to the national lockdown, is also facing another legal challenge from British American Tobacco SA (BATSA), supported by Japan Tobacco International, as well as groups and organisations representing the tobacco value chain countrywide, in the Western Cape High Court.

June 3 2020 - 08:45

'We were treated like children': Group on why it challenged lockdown regulations

The man who challenged government’s lockdown regulations in court and came out victorious said on Wednesday any government bid to overturn the high court ruling would be disrespectful of the wishes of citizens.

“I doubt that the government will even think about an appeal. That would be a total slap in the faces of the people of SA,” said Liberty Fighters Network president Reyno de Beer.

He was speaking on SAfm on Wednesday morning.

June 3 2020 - 08:44

‘Up to 80% of people in Eastern Cape likely to get Covid-19’

About 80% of people in the Eastern Cape are likely to contract Covid-19.

The estimate, by the Eastern Cape department of health, is contained in a report presented to the Eastern Cape coronavirus command council, reports HeraldLIVE.

Of those infected, 80% are expected to present mild symptoms or to be asymptomatic, 15% might require admission to hospital and 5% are likely to need high care.

June 3 2020 - 07:52

Cabinet will first study high court judgment on 'invalid' lockdown rules

The cabinet says it is studying the high court ruling which found that while the establishment of the state of disaster to handle the Covid-19 pandemic was in itself valid, several of the regulations promulgated under the lockdown levels infringed on individual rights and were invalid.

The lockdown regulations will remain in place for the next two weeks, as Judge Norman Davis gave the government time to “review, amend and republish regulations” to ensure they were consistent with the constitution.

June 3 2020 - 07:40 

'This judgment is a legal joke': Mbuyiseni Ndlozi on lockdown rules judgement 

June 3 2020 - 07:15

These are SA's 'irrational' lockdown laws, according to high court

Judge Norman Davis on Tuesday issued a scathing assessment of the government's lockdown laws, saying they weren't well thought out and went against the Bill of Rights.

While Davis said the establishment of the lockdown itself under the Disaster Management Act was legal, he was critical of the individual regulations, saying that they did not pass the test for rationality. In fact, he said, they were "unconstitutional".

Here - in Davis' own, unedited words - are specific examples of the "irrational" rules cited in the judgment:

June 3 2020 - 07:10

R30,000 booze sold by Joburg bottle store to one customer

Online orders for one Johannesburg-based liquor store have been booming since the lifting of the ban on alcohol during the nationwide lockdown.

On Monday, licensed liquor venues reopened to sell alcohol, two months after the ban was put in place at the end of March.

Liquor stores are allowed to operate only from Monday to Thursday between 9am and 5pm. E-commerce deliveries (but not orders) are subject to the same days and times.

Since the lifting of the ban, thirsty South Africans have wasted no time in placing their booze orders online for delivery.

June 3 2020 - 7:00

Hangars, sport stadium to be converted to Covid sites

The Eastern Cape government plans to transform the old Mthatha Airport hangers, Buffalo City Stadium and other state properties into isolation and quarantine sites.

The province is bracing itself for the Covid-19 pandemic’s peak​ in September.

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