COVID-19 WRAP: SA death toll surpasses 1,000 | Joburg mayor self-isolates | SA to pay R239m for Cuban doctors
June 8 2020 - 21:34
First patients admitted to special Covid-19 field hospital in Cape Town
The first patients have been admitted to a special Covid-19 field hospital in the Western Cape, the province announced on Monday.
The province also announced an additional 24 Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 798*.
"We send our condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased at this time," the Western Cape government said in a statement.
June 8 2020 - 20:36
1,000 deaths: SA hits grim Covid-19 milestone
South Africa on Monday night reached a grim milestone as the country battles to contain the coronavirus: more than 1,000 people have now died from the illness the virus causes.
The milestone was reached 73 days after the first Covid-19 related death - that of 48-year-old Madeleine van Wyk from the Western Cape - was recorded on March 27.
In figures released on Monday, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said 82 additional deaths had been recorded since the statistics were released on Sunday night. This means that there are now 1,080 confirmed deaths from the illness in SA.
June 8 2020 - 19:13
Lockdowns saved many lives and easing them is risky, say scientists
Lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 have saved millions of lives and easing them now carries high risks, according to two international studies published on Monday.
"The risk of a second wave happening if all interventions and all precautions are abandoned is very real," Samir Bhatt, who co-led one of the studies by researchers at Imperial College London, told reporters in a briefing.
Most European nations, worried about the economic impact of their lockdowns, have started to ease restrictions as the number of new COVID-19 cases falls.
June 8 2020 - 17:53
Joburg mayor self-isolates after staff member tests positive for Covid-19
Johannesburg mayor Geoffrey Makhubo has gone into self-isolation after an employee in his office tested positive for Covid-19.
In a short statement, Makhubo's office said the staffer had tested positive “following a trip to the Western Cape for a funeral last week”.
It said Makhubo had recently tested negative for the respiratory illness, but had taken a second test in the wake of the confirmed case.
June 8 2020 - 17:46
SA to pay R239m for Cuban doctors, Zweli Mkhize tells parliament
The Cuban doctors seconded to SA to help in the fight against Covid-19 will cost the state just over R239m, health minister Zweli Mkhize has revealed.
Provinces will pay millions more for accommodating the brigade until April 2021.
Mkhize told DA MP Siviwe Gwarube, in a written reply to parliamentary questions, that Cuba had availed 187 medical specialists to help SA in the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
June 8 2020 - 17:31
UK records 55 coronavirus deaths - lowest total since March
Britain on Monday recorded 55 deaths in the coronavirus outbreak in the last 24 hours - the lowest total since March 22, with Scotland now going two days without a fatality.
It is the lowest daily total since the country went into lockdown on March 23, although figures on Mondays are usually low due to weekend reporting practices.
Despite the downward trend, Britain has now recorded 40,597 deaths of those testing positive for coronavirus, making it the hardest hit nation in Europe and second in the world behind the United States.
Scotland, which has seen 2,415 deaths after positive tests, recorded no new fatalities for the second day in a row.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the figures showed coronavirus was "in retreat" in Scotland. She was now "optimistic" the country could move to the second phase of its four-part plan to ease lockdown measures when they are reviewed next week.
June 8 2020 - 17:20
WATCH | Back to school: Angie Motshekga gives green light to inspected schools
Schools across South Africa have been closed for over two months due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Grade 7 and 12 pupils at government schools returned to class on Monday. The minister of basic education, Angie Motshekga, visited some schools in the Ekhuruleni district to inspect and ensure readiness.
June 8 2020 - 16:59
'We don't need you to fight Covid-19': DA tells ANC ministers to stay out of Western Cape
DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela has denounced the deployment of national government ministers to the Western Cape in the fight against Covid-19.
This after the Sunday Times reported that five ministers, including police minister Bheki Cele and transport minister Fikile Mbalula, were to be deployed to the province in what DA insiders fear is an ANC attempt to use the Covid-19 crisis to muscle in on SA's only opposition-led province.
Madikizela on Monday said there was no need for national government ministers to be deployed to the Western Cape.
June 8 2020 - 16:22
Gauteng residents urged not to fear quarantine facilities nearby
Gauteng's health department on Monday moved to allay fears of citizens living near quarantine sites that they are not at risk of being infected with Covid-19.
Spokesperson Kwara Kekana said the department had noted concerns raised by community members where quarantine sites were based.
“We wish to reiterate that the Covid-19 virus is not airborne and is spread mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, in the same way influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread,” she said.
June 8 2020 - 16:19
WATCH | From kitchens to criminals: meet Jozi's illicit cigarette pushers
South Africans have been unable to purchase cigarettes since the start of the nationwide lockdown on March 26 2020. The restaurant business has been severely affected by the lockdown and some of those in the industry who are now jobless have resorted to trading illicit cigarettes as a means of survival.
June 8 2020 - 16:16
Two Gauteng command centre staffers test positive for Covid-19
Two Gauteng command centre employees have tested positive for Covid-19.
The pair underwent routine screening and testing conducted among staff members exposed to risk of contracting coronavirus last week.
June 8 2020 - 15:58
'No calls' tabled to reinstate alcohol ban: Presidency
There have not been any calls to reinstate the ban on alcohol sales, the presidency said on Monday afternoon.
This comes as a number of voicenotes were circulating on Monday claiming that the government was going to reinstate the ban on alcohol sales this week.
June 8 2020 - 15:57
PODCAST | Is cigarette ban turning citizens into criminals?
In this episode of Boots on the ground: behind SA's national lockdown, we chat to restaurateurs turned cigarette smugglers.
June 8 2020 - 15:51
EFF to sue government over death of Collins Khosa
The EFF will be suing the state on behalf of the family of Collins Khosa, the party's leader Julius Malema revealed on Monday.
Khosa died during the Covid-19 lockdown, allegedly after an altercation with soldiers deployed to help enforce the lockdown.
Malema said the EFF had assembled a strong legal team to litigate. He added that the party had paid the costs of Khosa’s funeral.
June 8 2020 - 15:24
Pupil from Pretoria private school tests positive for Covid-19
Monday's back-to-school plans got off to a rocky start at the Curro group's Woodhill College, in Pretoria, when one pupil was found to have Covid-19.
The school said it was following the requirements of the Disaster Management Act and the guidelines of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) since the positive case was confirmed.
June 8 2020 - 15:17
Pastor Mboro on first service during lockdown: 'My own mother was not happy I had to leave her in the house'
Incredible Happenings Ministries leader Paseka “Mboro” Motsoeneng says all safety precautions required by the government were followed during the church's first gathering in three months.
Mboro hosted exactly 50 congregants who all observed social distancing and wore masks.
“We disinfected the premises using sanitisers. That way, all surfaces were clean and congregants were protected from the virus. The number was exactly 50 and we maintained a distance of 2.3m from one another.”
June 8 2020 - 15:15
Race, gender and age: what the early Covid-19 stats in SA show
Data released by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has provided more insight into the race, gender, sex and underlying health issues of those infected by the coronavirus in SA.
According to the NCID, of the 2,288 (48.5%) patients out of the 4,718 Covid-19 admissions, whose race was known, 1,458 (63.7%) were black Africans, 436 (19.1%) were coloured, 266 (11.6%) were white and 128 (5.6%) were Indian.
The average age of patients admitted with Covid-19 was 49, said the NCID.
June 8 2020 - 14:31
Ban alcohol in the Eastern Cape, says premier Oscar Mabuyane
The Eastern Cape government wants the national coronavirus command council to consider banning the sale of alcohol in the province.
This is according to premier Oscar Mabuyane, DispatchLIVE reported. Mabuyane chairs the provincial command council.
His sentiment comes just hours after health MEC Sindiswa Gomba told journalists on Monday that there was a surge in the number of trauma cases in hospitals at the weekend.
June 8 2020 - 14:23
Fita brings in its own medical experts to challenge ban on cigarette sales
The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) has attached two reports from medical professionals showing that banning the sale of tobacco products and cigarettes is unlikely to have any significant effects on the patterns of use and availability.
Fita went to the high court in Pretoria in May to ask it to set aside the regulations announced by co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to ban the sale and purchase of cigarettes and tobacco products under levels 4 and 3 of the lockdown.
Dlamini-Zuma is defending the temporary ban and opposing the application.
June 8 2020 - 14:16
DA goes to court to save 'thousands of livelihoods' in beauty industry
The DA has taken the government to court over the continued lockdown on hairdressers and other personal-care service providers.
DA MP Dean Macpherson filed urgent papers in the Western Cape High Court on Monday to have the ban and “criminalisation of personal care” services, which includes hairdressers, declared invalid and unconstitutional.
This comes after the party gave co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma until last Wednesday to provide the reasons and rationale for the ban.
June 8 2020 - 14:05
Alcohol misuse puts ‘massive strain’ on Gauteng hospitals - MEC Bandile Masuku
Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku said the return of the sale and consumption of alcohol had put a “massive strain” on emergency departments at hospitals in the province.
“It is something of great concern because now we have to navigate in terms of the competing needs of the resources that we have,” he said while visiting schools that reopened on Monday.
Masuku said these concerns would be raised with the national and provincial command councils on the coronavirus to ensure the strict regulation of alcohol.
June 8 2020 - 13:47
No more playing, eating outside during lunch is the new normal at school
Eating in classrooms and no playtime during breaks will be the new normal at school, said a principal.
At Thohoyandou Primary School in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, principal Livhuwani Ramano was expecting 132 grade 7 pupils to return to school on Monday.
Pupils were masked and their temperatures taken before they entered the premises. Classrooms were modified to ensure social distancing could be enforced in line with Covid-19 safety protocols, he said.
June 8 2020 - 13:13
'What I saw there was shocking': union on hospital treating Covid-19 patients
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) has criticised the Eastern Cape department of health over conditions in the emergency unit of Livingstone Hospital, Port Elizabeth.
The department has responded that the union must stop pointing fingers and rather help fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sweetness Stokwe, Nehawu regional secretary at Thabo Moshoeshoe region, said: “Since 2018, the hospital has had a shortage of staff. Many senior managers were suspended for fraud and corruption while some of the posts were vacant because of retirement, deaths and promotions.
This article was first published by GroundUp
June 8 2020 - 12:36
'No intelligible basis for U-turn on tobacco sales': Fita
To describe President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that tobacco products would be on sale from May 1 as a mere proposal was absurd, said the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita).
Fita made this remark in an affidavit at the weekend in its legal challenge contesting the continued ban on cigarette and tobacco product sales.
Fita said co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is opposing Fita's application, had failed to provide any “intelligible basis” for the government's U-turn regarding the ban.
June 8 2020 - 12:05
Some Gauteng taxis to double fares next week - here's what you need to know
Taxi commuters under the Alexandra Taxi Association (ATA) and Alexandra, Randburg Midrand, Sandton Taxi Association (Armsta) will pay more than double in taxi fares as of Monday June 15.
June 8 2020 - 11:52
Superheroes welcome pupils back to Durban school
When grade 7 pupils at one Durban primary school arrived for their first day back, they were given a “hero's welcome” by their principal and teachers all kitted out in super-hero costumes.
Athlone Park Primary in Amanzimtoti, south of the city, wanted to make their pupils feel comfortable returning to their classrooms amid the Covid-19 virus, so they donned costumes and made signs like, “You are brave”, “You are loved” and “You are kind”.
Principal John Vorster joined his staff at the school gate as “Superman”, complete with a cape.
June 8 2020 - 11:06
Thank you for the trust parents and guardians, we'll keep your children safe: Lesufi
June 8 2020 - 10:58
Fikile Mbalula's joke about travelling to the DRC doesn't go down well with Mzansi
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has not lost his sense humour, even during the stress caused by the lockdown.
On Sunday, he managed to ruffle the feathers of some South Africans who criticised him for his "trip" to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
June 8 2020 - 10:54
Social distancing & masks: Mzansi on schools reopening
On Monday, schools reopened more than two months after President Cyril Ramaphosa introduced a nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19 infections.
June 8 2020 - 10:16
Motshekga assessing East Rand schools on first day of school for pupils
June 8 2020 - 12:08
Pupils are seated and classes are in session
June 8 2020 - 09:36
IN PICS | Pupils head back to school for the first time since the start of lockdown
Pupils and teachers across the country officially return to schools on Monday, June 8, the first day of class during the Covid-19 lockdown for grades 7 and 12.
After much trepidation from parents, pupils and teachers alike, schools say they're ready to continue the school year and are practising health and safety measures, including social distancing, routine screening before entering the premises and sanitising.
June 8 2020 - 09:30
Scholar transport also has to ensure that lockdown regulations are adhered to
Asivhanga transport which supplies transportation for school said the 65 seater bus has been reduced to a 39 seater to adhere to the transport regulation.
Learners are given masks at pickup points The transport manager, Murendeni Tshikunde said most learners he was transporting seemed scared because of the virus.
"Most learners are scared when we scan them they say they are scared that they might have coronavirus," he said.He said most concerned parents were relieved and happy when they saw the transport arrangements at the pickup point.
June 8 2020 - 09:19
Gauteng health MEC assessing schools to ensure regulations are adhered to
June 8 2020 - 09:03
School bathrooms in a Gauteng school has all that is needed to keep Covid-19 at bay
June 8 2020 - 09:05
After two months of no school pupils worried they might not catch up on school work
In Chatsworth, south of Durban, Merry Hill Primary School head of department, Prakash Nanjee, says— Orrin Singh (@orrin417) June 8, 2020
parents were required to come to school and fill out a declaration form on Monday - stating whether their children suffered from any Covid-19 symptoms. @TimesLIVE pic.twitter.com/Mc5GVgOA6L
June 8 2020 - 08:58
First day of reopening of schools off to a good start in Gauteng: Lesufi
June 8 2020 - 08:39
Pupils across SA getting screened
June 8 2020 08:33
Pupils ready to resume school
June 8 2020 - 08:26
'Pupils are scared but so are staff': Back to school during Covid-19
Shared anxiety and determination united pupils and teachers at a Johannesburg school on Monday, the first day of class during the Covid-19 lockdown.
"The pupils have been so well-behaved this morning, I am proud of them. They have been following social distancing measures," said Willie de Wet, principal of Roosevelt High School.
The school has been ready to receive students since two weeks ago as staff had anticipated opening a week earlier.
June 8 2020 - 08:15
Durban High matric pupils ready to resume 2020 academic year
June 8 2020 - 08:03
Grade 7 and 12 pupils make their way back to school
June 8 2020 - 07:37
As the number of SA's Covid-19 cases rise, we should be concerned but not alarmed: Ramaphosa
June 8 2020 - 07:35
It’s back to work for parents, but what about the kids?
When more and more people returned to work on June 1, for some the lockdown nightmare intensified.
Level 3 presents another set of worries, and rising costs, as only grades 7 and 12 are back in class.
June 8 2020 - 6:17
Back to the chalk board as schools are ‘95% ready’ to reopen
There will be no more false starts, and schools will open on Monday.
And, the minister finally has the backing of teacher unions.