COVID-19 WRAP | Correctional services department has over 2,000 Covid-19 cases

26 June 2020 - 07:41
By TimesLIVE
SA Rugby partnered with Gift of the Givers at Peakview Secondary School to handover relief packages to help ease financial burden of Covid-19 on June 25 2020.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER/TIMESLIVE SA Rugby partnered with Gift of the Givers at Peakview Secondary School to handover relief packages to help ease financial burden of Covid-19 on June 25 2020.

June 26 2020 - 21:50

Correctional services department has over 2,000 Covid-19 cases

The correctional services department has recorded 2,190 Covid-19 cases.

The cases comprise 983 officials and 1,207 inmates. Of these cases, 523 were active, said spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo.

June 26 2020 - 20:00

Casino floors will have to be half-empty when they open from Monday

Casinos will only be allowed to be half-full when they open from Monday.

This is according to the tourism department, which issued guidelines under which casinos should operate.

The number of people allowed to enter a casino may not be more than 50% based on its available gambling floor space. Casinos should also ensure compliance with physical distancing requirements.

June 26 2020 - 18:15

You will not be allowed to drink alcohol at restaurants when they reopen

You can sit down for dinner at your favourite restaurant from Monday, but only if you — and the eatery — follow strict Covid-19 rules and regulations.

But you will not be allowed to buy and drink alcohol while you’re there.

This is according to tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, who was speaking at a press conference on Friday evening.

June 26 2020 - 17:57

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June 26 2020 - 16:38

Pietermaritzburg court closed after staff test positive for Covid-19

The Pietermaritzburg magistrate's court has been temporarily closed after two staff members tested positive for Covid-19.

According to an e-mail sent to staff by the chief magistrate Mpho Moneymore, the court precinct would be closed from Friday until Tuesday after a court clerk and district court prosecutor tested positive.

June 26 2020 - 16:27

Mogoeng Mogoeng on how leaders stoked fear during Covid-19 pandemic

“Even the people of faith where boldness is supposed to be found, suddenly the faith that they used to have in the almighty God is not there any more. People are fear-stricken.”

Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng used these words in an analogy to describe how the power of messaging by leaders had caused fear around the world during the coronavirus pandemic.

June 26 2020 - 15:28

'Cigarettes are not essential': Court orders tobacco ban to stay in place

“The application by Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association is dismissed.”

With these words, the high court ruled on Friday that the sale of tobacco products would remain banned under the government's lockdown regulations.

Fita had taken the government to court, challenging the ongoing ban on tobacco and related products. The government had opposed the court application relying largely on the negative health implications of smoking.

June 26 2020 - 15:27

Yes, there are Covid-19 cases at Soweto school, but department mum on claims teachers, pupils not told

Gauteng education department spokesperson Steve Mabona has confirmed four Covid-19 cases at Onkgopotse Tiro Primary in Soweto, but remains mum on whether school principal Wandile Kubheka kept staff and parents in the dark about the infections, despite having allegedly known about them since Sunday.

Sources who spoke to TimesLIVE on Thursday alleged Kubheka told staff members about the cases on Wednesday afternoon during a meeting. He allegedly admitted to having known about the infections three days before he broke the news.

June 26 2020 - 14:41

Health worker pleads with South Africans to take Covid-19 seriously as ICUs fill up

A Durban health worker based at an ICU has taken to Facebook to tell how overwhelmed, shocked and afraid she and her colleagues are by Covid-19.

Swasti Singh, who did not reveal which ICU she is based at, said in her post this week: “Leave the statistics out for now. I am making an observation based on my experiences.

“What my colleagues and I have seen in the past week is beyond words. We are overwhelmed, afraid and shocked. I cannot go into the details of my ICU but what I can say is that you don’t want to be there as a patient nor do you want your loved ones to be there.

June 26 2020 - 14:23

Court hears FF Plus challenge against Disaster Management Act

The full bench of the high court in Pretoria heard an application on Friday by the Freedom Front Plus seeking to have the Disaster Management Act declared unconstitutional.

Gauteng judge president Dunstan Mlambo, judge Jody Kollapen and judge Raylene Keightley heard the application on a virtual platform, where counsel representing the president and the co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister (Cogta) opposed the application.

Judgment was reserved.

June 26 2020 - 13:00

If not rescued, 15% of SA's creches could close down, warns NGO

A non-governmental body that supports early childhood development facilities is appealing for financial aid grants for the sector, as crèches across the country struggle in the extended lockdown.

Prof Eric Atmore, founding director of the Centre for Childhood Development,  said: “We have made several calls on the president and the ministers for basic education and social development for clarity on when ECD centres can reopen. We have also asked for information on financial aid packages being considered for this sector, but our pleas have thus far fallen on deaf ears.”

Early childhood development educators and staff are now allowed to return to work but have a series of hurdles to overcome before children are allowed back into their care.

June 26 2020 - 12:52

Covid-positive doctor shares her experience to inspire others

Doctor Masego Meyer, who has Covid-19,  has opened up about her experience of living with the virus with the hope that she inspires others and ends the stigma around the virus.

Meyer, who works at George Mukhari Hospital, is one of 15 doctors at the Pretoria hospital who tested positive. After finding out about her results on Saturday, Meyer decided to share the news and her journey in a bid to inspire.

June 26 2020 - 12:49

Restaurant industry eagerly awaits directions for reopening

The Restaurant Association of SA (Rasa) is hoping to receive communication from the government on Friday about the way forward and a firm date for when they can be back in business.

Wendy Alberts, Rasa spokesperson, said the industry was eagerly awaiting the announcement of the directions for the industry.

Amended regulations allowing restaurant sit-down service to resume under certain conditions during level 3 of the lockdown were gazetted on Thursday night.

“The draft was ready last night and we understand they will be giving us an update today. Our priority is to open and find ways to rebuild the industry, which will take a lot,” Alberts said.

June 26 2020 - 12:37

BAT’s challenge to tobacco ban to be heard only in August

The second big legal challenge to SA’s Covid-19 ban on cigarette sales — now the only one of its kind in the world — will be heard on August 4, following an appeal by state lawyers to Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko confirmed on Friday morning that Hlophe had issued directives that British American Tobacco’s (BAT SA) application to challenge the constitutionality of the cigarette ban should be heard by a full bench of the Western Cape High Court on August 4-5 — more than a month after the June 30 hearing date BAT had announced on Thursday, reports BusinessLIVE.

Hlophe’s agreement to this delay, which comes as the Pretoria high court is expected to rule on a separate challenge to the rationality of the cigarette ban by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita), came after state attorney Melanie Faure wrote to him on Thursday.

June 27 2020 - 11:15

Cabinet backs proposal for 'new' airline and eased lockdown regulations

The cabinet has signed off on amendments to regulations of the Disaster Management Act which make it possible for cinemas, restaurants and casinos to open.

Among other items on the agenda was finance minister Tito Mboweni’s supplementary budget, a report back from public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan on SAA as well as what the cabinet called a “spike” in gender-based violence.

The cabinet said it had received a progress report from the national coronavirus command council and as part of responding to the enhanced risk-adjusted level 3 of the lockdown, amendments to the regulations in terms of the Disaster Management Act were presented.

June 26 2020 - 09:39

Court to hear BAT SA tobacco ban challenge on Tuesday

The high court in Cape Town will hear British American Tobacco SA's (BAT) application to have the ban on the sale of tobacco products set aside next week.

The application is expected to be heard on June 30, reports BusinessLIVE.

The ban has been in place since late March when the country entered into a strict lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Despite attempts by tobacco companies and manufacturers to lobby for the legal sale of the products, the government has refused to budge on lifting the ban. 

June 26 2020 - 08:34

Restaurant, entertainment industries in limbo as wait for Covid-19 rules endures

Minister of co-operative governance & traditional affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has gazetted an amendment to the lockdown regulations to allow cinemas, restaurants, theatres and casinos to operate.

While some rules are specified, the businesses' reopening is subject to strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures - as well as “directions” that must be issued by the relevant cabinet minister in their sectors, after consultation with health minister Zweli Mkhize.

It is unclear when these directions will be announced.

The regulations published by Dlamini-Zuma's department late on Thursday night said cinemas may be open, subject to a limit of 50 people or less. The same applies to theatres. 

In terms of casinos, regulations state that there must be a restriction on the number of people allowed to occupy no more than 50% of the available floor space, with patrons observing a distance of least one-and-a-half metres from each other. This floor space percentage “may be increased as provided for in directions issued by the cabinet member”, the document states.

June 26 2020 - 07:54

Covid challenges keep coming: Almost 1,000 Gauteng teachers apply for comorbidity leave

The Gauteng department of education says the growing number of Covid-19 cases are an emerging risk challenge as it impacts on school closures.

There are 188 teachers and 58 pupils who have tested positive for the virus. This was reported during the command council’s weekly media update on Covid-19, reports SowetanLIVE.

“Also the high number of applications for comorbidity leave [from teachers] is an emerging risk challenge as this could affect available teaching capacity. The department has received close to 1,000 applications across the province. There are also emerging infrastructure issues,” Lesufi said.

June 26 2020 - 07:35

Delays in release of rules enabling sit-down restaurants to open under level 3 causes frustrations