COVID-19 WRAP | Western Cape cases up by less than 1,000

29 June 2020 - 07:44 By TimesLIVE
A salon and training facility in Braamfontein, Johannesburg on June 29. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced hairdressers, beauticians and spas will be able to operate under the advanced level 3 of lockdown.
A salon and training facility in Braamfontein, Johannesburg on June 29. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced hairdressers, beauticians and spas will be able to operate under the advanced level 3 of lockdown.
Image: Alon Skuy

June 29 2020 - 22:00

SA has over 6,000 new Covid-19 cases, half coming from Gauteng

South Africa has recorded 6,132 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Monday - with about half of those cases coming from Gauteng.

The Western Cape, which remains the country's epicentre, recorded less than 1,000 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking the national fatalities to 2,529.

The ministry said there were also 73 deaths reported in the past 24 hours.

June 29 2020 - 21:20

Acsa welcomes reopening of three more airports for business travel

Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) has welcomed Monday's announcement by transport minister Fikile Mbalula that three more airports will be opened for business travel from July 1: Port Elizabeth, Upington and Bloemfontein.

Acsa spokesperson Gopolang Peme said managers and staff of the airports had been preparing and would have all the required measures in place by Wednesday.

“Airport management and staff have been getting ready for this moment for a few weeks now. They have implemented the extensive physical measures that are required by the regulations. Airport staff have been trained and are ready to activate the new procedures,” he said.

June 29 2020 - 20:00

Courier fingered after Covid-19 test kits found dumped in Eastern Cape

Investigations are under way into how hundreds of Covid-19 test kits — all marked as urgent — were dumped on the side of a national road in the Eastern Cape.

It is believed that the samples were on their way to Port Elizabeth from East London for testing, HeraldLIVE reported.

According to news reports, a jogger came across close to 500 coronavirus tests while running along the N2 near Mdantsane, in East London, on Tuesday last week.

June 29 2020 - 19:15

Six months in, worst of the pandemic 'is yet to come', warns WHO

Six months since the new coronavirus outbreak, the pandemic is still far from over, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Monday, warning that "the worst is yet to come".

Reaching the half-year milestone just as the death toll surpassed 500,000 and the number of confirmed infections topped 10 million, the WHO said it was a moment to recommit to the fight to save lives.

"Six months ago, none of us could have imagined how our world - and our lives - would be thrown into turmoil by this new virus," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing.


June 29 2020 - 16:53

Correctional Services registers 72% recovery rate in fight against Covid-19

The correctional services department says it is making ground in its battle against the coronavirus, with a recovery rate of 72%.

“It is unimaginable that a department which, on May 26 2020, had 482 confirmed inmate cases could today talk of 70 requiring treatment and monitoring,” department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said.

June 29 2020 - 16:47

Cheers! Irish pubs reopen as end of lockdown nears

Irish pubs unlocked their doors and began pouring pints on Monday, ending a 15-week dry spell forced by the nation's coronavirus lockdown.

Pubs serving food as well as restaurants and hotels were permitted to open as the republic enters the penultimate stage of its plan to lift stay-at-home restrictions.

"Guinness is good for you," quipped Mark O'Mahony - the first to order a pint with his breakfast at Dublin's Doheny & Nesbitt pub. "Without it, it hasn't been much good really for 15 weeks."

Staff milled around the wood-panelled bar's sparse tables in rubber gloves and face visors, guiding customers around a one-way system marked on the floor.

Under new measures the traditional experience of a heaving Irish pub has been curtailed. Social distancing means drinkers will have to remain seated, with a maximum stay of 105 minutes.


June 29 2020 - 16:33

WATCH | Field hospitals have 'Covid-19 covered ... for now': Western Cape health MEC

Western Cape provincial health minister Nomafrench Mbombo visited the Cape Town International Convention Centre on June 29 2020 to receive donations made by retail group Shoprite. The MEC gave insight into how the field hospitals around the province were fairing and just how prepared the Western Cape is for any possible spike in hospitalisations.

June 29 2020 - 16:16

UZKN secures Covid-19 rapid-testing tool from Gift of the Givers

The College of Health Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) can now give a Covid-19 test result in just six hours, thanks to a new instrument called the Ilex Genechecker.

The "ultra-fast PCR" [polymerase chain reaction], valued at almost R175,000, was donated by Gift of the Givers following a request made by UKZN researchers Prof Anil Chuturgoon, Dr Veron Ramsuran and Dr Lorna Madurai.

The instrument was handed over to the university on Thursday and placed at its microbiology laboratory at Howard campus, a facility currently used for testing for Covid-19.

June 29 2020 - 15:26

Interprovincial leisure travel not allowed: tourism department

Interprovincial leisure travel is not allowed under the current level 3 lockdown restrictions, the tourism department confirmed on Monday.

Tourism department spokesperson Hlengiwe Nhlabathi-Mokota said activities allowed under enhanced level 3 include self-drives in game parks, gambling at casinos, dining out, and visiting museums and cinemas. But trips to and from these activities can only happen within one's provincial boundaries.

"In the strictest terms, leisure tourism remains closed and most activities, experiences and attractions (sports, cultural, beach, group hiking, spectator events) which constitute our leisure tourism - which would trigger provincial travel and demand for overnight accommodation - remain prohibited under level 3," she said.

June 29 2020 - 15:22

Covid-19 test kits dumped on side of N2 between East London and King William’s Town

Covid-19 test kits, one labelled for Grey Provincial Hospital in King William’s Town, were found dumped on the side of the N2 between East London and King William’s Town on Monday morning.

Eastern Cape health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the matter was being investigated by the department, as well as the National Health Laboratory Services, reports HeraldLIVE.

Kupelo said a statement on the matter would be released later on Monday.

June 29 2020 - 14:10

Fire in Egypt hospital kills 7 coronavirus patients

A fire at a hospital in Egypt's coastal city of Alexandria on Monday killed seven coronavirus patients, security and medical sources said.

Seven other people were injured in the blaze, believed to be caused by a malfunctioning air conditioner in an area designated for isolating Covid-19 patients, the sources said.

Firefighters stopped it spreading to other hospital buildings, and ambulances were dispatched to transfer patients to other medical facilities, the state-run newspaper Akhbar al-Youm reported.

June 29 2020 - 14:04

Man fights Covid-19 in hospital, as family brace to tell him wife died of virus

“My mother has died and we don’t know how to tell my father, who is fighting for his life in hospital, that she is no more.”

These are the words of Ntando Ndabeni, who recently lost his mother Lungelwa Sindiswa Ndabeni to Covid-19.

Lungelwa succumbed to the virus at the Mthatha General Hospital on June 27. The family described her as a loving and caring woman who ran a ministry in the community.

June 29 2020 - 13:36

'SA is not a banana republic': Fikile Mbalula to defiant taxi industry

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has dared taxi bosses to report him to President Cyril Ramaphosa if they are unhappy.

Mbalula on Monday said he was on the side of the taxi industry but if they felt he was not doing his job, they should go directly to Ramaphosa.

His address came as some in the industry vowed to defy lockdown regulations and fill their vehicles to 100% of carrying capacity.

June 29 2020 - 13:12

SA in top 20 of new daily Covid-19 cases as health officials prepare for battle

As SA battles shortages of oxygen and hospitals beds, the country's Covid-19 infection rate continues to rise, pushing it into the top 20 of daily increasing numbers.

According to Worldometers, SA stands at number 17 of the highest infection rate among 215 countries battling the pandemic.

Worldometers is a data source that tracks real-time statistics on several topics, including Covid-19. The numbers vary daily as updates continue to stream in.

June 29 2020 - 13:03

Durban Pick n Pay forced to close three times in two months

A Durban supermarket has had to close its doors three times in the past two months mainly because of workers testing positive for Covid-19.

On Saturday Pick n Pay at Musgrave Centre temporarily closed after a worker tested positive. Last month the store was forced to temporarily close after a manager contracted the virus. At the end of April it shut its doors to deep clean, “as a precaution”, after a worker died. 

Pick n Pay said at the time there was “no suggestion at this stage” that the employee's death was linked to the virus.

June 29 2020 - 12:50

Business as usual at ranks as taxis operate at full capacity

It is back to business at the Germiston taxi rank on Monday following an announcement by taxi associations.

At the taxi rank in Ekurhuleni, queue marshalls packed vehicles to full capacity in line with the SA National Taxi Council  (Santaco) announcement yesterday, SowetanLIVE reports.

Commuters boarded taxis without complaint and departed to different destinations in Gauteng with vehicles loaded to 100% capacity. Taxis have been operating at 70% capacity as part of government interventions to reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19. Some taxi associations, however, started operating at full capacity last week as they felt they had incurred too many losses during the lockdown.

June 29 2020 - 12:38

Missing church? You could catch a service at your local shopping mall

Being unable to attend church during lockdown,  or a lack of data, should not stop people from receiving the word of God.

As a result, a group of worshippers have decided to take church services to the malls to pray for the country and the  families facing hardship caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, SowetanLIVE reports.

Members of the House of Grace Ministries in Vosloorus, on Gauteng's East Rand, have started an initiative to pray at malls in Ekurhuleni to help those who cannot physically attend places of worship.

June 29 2020 - 12:16

Taxi drivers and metro police butt heads over 100% capacity in Durban

Taxi drivers in Durban clashed with metro police officers on Monday as the long arm of the law clamped down on taxis operating at full capacity.

TimesLIVE witnessed taxis in Pinetown, Pietermaritzburg and Durban operating at 100% capacity, ignoring government's Covid-19 lockdown regulations which stipulate that public transport vehicles are permitted to operate at only 70% capacity.

In KwaMashu, north of Durban, taxi drivers halted traffic on the M25 highway after a squabble with metro police.

June 29 2020 - 11:39

Tanzania the first east African country to allow resumption of all academic activity

All primary and secondary schools in Tanzania resumed academic sessions from today, making Tanzania the first country in east Africa to allow resumption of all academic activity, reported The Daily Nation

With the Covid-19 pandemic still raging, all health safety precautions issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the ministry of health will be followed.

Tanzania's higher-education institutions reopened at the beginning of June, with changes put in place on campus environs to minimise the risk of contracting Covid-19. 

June 29 2020 - 11:38

Restaurants 'bewildered' by booze ban, challenge Ebrahim Patel for reasons

The Restaurant Association of SA has sent trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel a lawyer's letter demanding to know why alcohol cannot be sold to sit-down customers.

The letter was written after the publication of directions in the Government Gazette regarding the reopening of restaurants - permitted from Monday.

The association said it noted with “bewilderment” that the sale of alcohol at restaurants was not addressed in the new regulations.

June 29 2020 - 11:16

Several residents in Durban 'hotspot' isolating after being hit by Covid-19

Several residents in Overport, Durban, which is deemed a hotspot, are in self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19.

Zain Soosiwala, spokesperson for community-based group Ethekwini Secure, told TimesLIVE on Monday that there were flats and homes in the suburb where residents had contracted the virus.

“All to my knowledge are isolating and recovering well. They are not pariahs, they don't need to be ostracised, these are members of our community.”

June 29 2020 - 11:13

Nigeria's Borno State grapples with Covid-19 stigma

Members of a community in the northeast of Nigeria fear seeking medical treatment as concerns over the social stigma attached to Covid-19 increase, reports SBS News.

Daily life in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, relies on social gatherings in homes and places of worship, cultural norms that have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“People don’t want to say they are sick because their neighbours will immediately think it is Covid-19,” said Dr Sanda, who works on the health team of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

June 29 2020 - 11:11

Santaco on business as usual, safety measures and rejecting that R1.3bn offer

The SA National Taxi Association (Santaco) on Sunday announced it would start operating at full capacity on Monday to make up for losses suffered by the industry during the lockdown.

The association’s president, Philip Taaibosch, detailed a plan of action during a media briefing.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula later pleaded with the industry to reconsider this decision. He said while his department had expressed support for the review of resuming operations at 100%, taxi operators must heed the law until an official decision is made.

June 29 2020 - 10:49

A few 'hiccups' but school feeding on track, education department insists

The department of basic education says that bar “a few hiccups”, the nationwide schools feeding scheme is up and running. But teachers, parents and pupils have told civil society organisations this is not the case.

Director-general Mathanzima Mweli said there was no need for court intervention and minister Angie Motshekga never backtracked on a promise to reinstate the National Schools Nutrition Programme (NSNP), which feeds about 9.6-million children, irrespective of whether they are back at school.

This is in his written response to an urgent application launched in the North Gauteng High Court by Equal Education (EE), supported by the Equal Education Law Centre and SECTION27.

June 29 2020 - 10:18

Lockdown level 3: you may leave your home to exercise with three friends

Co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has published new regulations outlining which activities and businesses are allowed under the advanced level 3 lockdown.

The amended regulations come after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced earlier this month that more businesses would be allowed to reopen, and some restrictions would be eased.

Under the new regulations, restaurants, casinos, cinemas and theatres are allowed only 50 guests, or the number of guests should not exceed “more than 50% of the available floor space”. 

June 29 2020 - 10:16

More than 450 KZN health and government workers test positive for Covid-19

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala on Sunday revealed that more than 450 health-care workers have tested positive for Covid-19 in the province.

He said 478 cases, including doctors, nurses, allied health-care workers and support staff, were reported in both private and public health-care sectors.

Provincial government departments were also hit by the deadly virus, with 457 employees testing positive.

June 29 2020 - 09:46

Covid-19 cases double in KZN schools in a week

The reported number of Covid-19 cases in KwaZulu-Natal schools increased last week to 187, of which 139 are teachers and 37 are pupils.

A week earlier, there was a total of 74 cases in KZN schools.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala said Umgungundlovu district led in terms of the number of infected teachers. Thirty-six teachers tested positive in the district.

June 29 2020 - 08:40

From overcoming stress to deaths of front line workers — five emotional stories from Groote Schuur hospital

The Heroes of Groote Schuur Facebook page is a glimmer of hope for many people, and an eye-opener about the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic which has seen more than 130,000 South Africans become infected and more than 2,000 lose their lives nationally.

In the Western Cape, 1,764 deaths and 60,445 infections had been recorded by Sunday evening.

On the Cape Town hospital's Facebook page, front line workers share their experiences of fighting the pandemic and their tips on how to keep safe during the health crisis.

June 29 2020 - 08:14

'Pupils, teachers contracted virus before going to schools', says Zweli Mkhize

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said recent cluster outbreaks in schools across the country are the result of pupils and educators who had unknowingly contracted Covid-19 in their communities before returning to school.

June 29 2020 - 08:06

Why Gauteng's Covid-19 cases are rising, plea to SA to take precautions

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has appealed to South Africans to not “let their guard down” and to remain focused and disciplined during the fight against Covid-19.

“Every single South African now needs to focus on adhering to recommendations pertaining to non-pharmaceutical interventions.

“We are extremely concerned that fatigue seems to have set in, and South Africans are letting down their guard at a time when the spread of infection is surging,” Mkhize said.

June 29 2020 - 08:01

Safety measures not observed at Livingstone Hospital, report warns

Screening protocols are falling through the cracks at Livingstone Hospital, common areas are not being regularly sanitised and staff are not wearing their personal protective equipment (PPE) properly, increasing the risk of Covid-19 spreading through the Port Elizabeth hospital and into the community.

June 29 2020 - 08:00

Outsurance is forking out for Covid-hit clients. Why aren’t the others?

No one saw it coming.

As the hospitality industry reels from huge lockdown-related losses, at least one insurer hasn’t wriggled out of helping.

June 29 2020 - 07:00

We’re red-lining, Cape doc warns amid Covid-19 flood

Groote Schuur Hospital is stretched to breaking point.

We speak to doctors and nurses who describe distressing, and heartbreaking, scenarios as the Covid-19 peak approaches.

June 29 2020 - 06:30

Ralph Vember loved music, gardening, sport and making curry until Covid-19 took his life

Ralph, who died in Cape Town on May 29 at the age of 71, loved music, gardening, sport and making curry. At church he sat three rows from the front, first at St Paul’s in District Six and later at St John’s in Bellville where he was councilman.

June 29 2020 - 06:15

Cape Town narrowly escaped germ 'catastrophe' in 2016, Mayosi report reveals

A potential infectious disease “catastrophe” was narrowly averted at the University of Cape Town during the 2016 Fees Must Fall protests.

June 29 2020 - 06:00

‘I thought I was going to die’: boy, 13, describes Covid-19 ordeal

Alone in ICU fighting Covid-19, Durban schoolboy Rhio Bezuidenhout feared he was going to die.

He and his mom describe their seven-day ordeal.

June 29 2020 - 06:00

'We just thought it was flu': Family of nurse who died of Covid-19

When Tygerberg Hospital registered nurse Thokozani Makaula, 38, developed flu-like symptoms three weeks ago her family didn’t read too much into it.

“We thought that it’s just flu that we all get around this time of the year. We were kind of relaxed about it as she had just tested negative for Covid-19 two weeks earlier after she came into contact with colleagues that had the virus,” said her sister, Nolindo Makaula.

June 29 2020 - 07:00

We’re red-lining, Cape doc warns amid Covid-19 flood

Groote Schuur Hospital is stretched to breaking point.

We speak to doctors and nurses who describe distressing, and heartbreaking, scenarios as the Covid-19 peak approaches.