COVID-19 WRAP | Covid-19 cases climb past the 150,000 mark in SA

30 June 2020 - 07:16
By TimesLIVE
Medical workers conduct nucleic acid tests at a temporary testing site after a new outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Beijing, China June 30, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Thomas Peter Medical workers conduct nucleic acid tests at a temporary testing site after a new outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Beijing, China June 30, 2020.

June 30 2020 - 22:15

128 new Covid-19 deaths in SA as confirmed cases climb past 150,000

Another disheartening Covid-19 milestone was hit in SA on Tuesday night, as cases climbed past 150,000.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said in a statement that there were 6,945 cases recorded in the past 24 hours, taking the national total to 151,209.

June 30 2020 - 21:29

Bring back level 5 lockdown: EFF

The EFF has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to return the country to level 5 lockdown for the next three months.

The call comes as the number of Covid-19 cases in SA has climbed significantly in recent days.

"No amount of social distancing, wearing masks [or] sanitisation will help reduce the rise in infections and death. The only strategy that will help is staying at home," said the EFF.

June 30 2020 - 20:08

Prasa ready to go on Wednesday? We highly doubt it, says union

The United National Transport Union (Untu) says it seriously doubts if the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) will be ready to resume its limited train services on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, transport minister Fikile Mbalula inspected various sites belonging to Prasa in Pretoria ahead of the resumption of operations on July 1.

Mbalula said that while he was pleased with Prasa's overall state of readiness, more still needed to be done.

June 30 2020 - 19:35

Gamblers throw the dice as GrandWest Casino opens after over 100 days

Cape Town gamblers turned the tables on the lockdown on Tuesday afternoon.

By 3pm, throngs of patrons had made their ways to GrandWest Casino, more than 100 days since the establishment closed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. They were enthusiastic when the casino opened its doors at 4pm. But they were met with more stringent regulations than before.

General manager Mervyn Naidoo said they would leave nothing to chance.

“We are very happy ... very excited,” he said.

June 30 2020 - 19:10

Ventilation not always the best bet for Covid-19 patients: Zweli Mkhize

Ventilating Covid-19 patients is not always in their best interest, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Tuesday.

Mkhize said in a statement that despite the fast-growing number Covid-19 patients in SA, the current treatment protocol evidence supported the avoidance of invasive ventilation strategies as far as possible”.

As of Monday night there were 144,264 confirmed cases of the virus across the country. There have been 2,529 recorded deaths.

June 30 2020 - 18:32

Alcohol traders must lead responsible drinking campaign to avoid another ban: Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Minister of women, youth and persons with disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on Tuesday urged liquor traders to champion responsible drinking to prevent a total shutdown of booze sales.

Nkoana-Mashabane told MPs during a debate on gender-based violence in the National Assembly that the role played by alcohol in gender violence could force the government to reconsider lifting the ban on alcohol sales.

“Illegal liquor outlets have been closed - 310 of them. But even the legal ones need to take responsibility,” she said.

June 30 2020 - 18:21

Sassa to review rejected Covid-19 grant applications

The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) has decided to reassess declined Covid-19 grant applications and review the reasons why they were rejected.

In a statement on Tuesday, Sassa spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi said the high numbers of rejections raised questions. Letsatsi said the agency decided it would be wise to reconsider these before subjecting them to an appeal process.

June 30 2020 - 17:59

Gauteng health department 'doing its best' as it prepares for the worst

The Gauteng health department said on Tuesday it is doing all it can to prepare for the looming peak in Covid-19 infections.

This assurance came as MEC Dr Bandile Masuku confirmed he suggested to the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) that some parts of the province be placed under an “intermittent” lockdown.

Nearly 40,000 infections have been recorded so far, with a significant spike in the past week or so. The province is expected to overtake the Western Cape to become the country's epicentre in days to come.

June 30 2020 - 16:27

Mpumalanga hospital and clinic staff test positive for Covid-19

At least 20 health-care staff at two separate medical facilities in Mpumalanga have tested positive for Covid-19. 

At Themba Hospital in Mbombela, 14 staff members are positive.

A clinic in Emalahleni (Witbank) was also closed on Tuesday.

June 30 2020 - 15:24

Covid-19: 2,376 people are being treated in hospitals across Gauteng

Gauteng is moving closer to recording 40,000 Covid-19 infections, and the provincial death toll is now 180.

The provincial health department said on Tuesday that the total number of infections stood at 39,841, and there had been 10,534 recoveries. 

Gauteng has seen a rapid jump in the number of infections as the coronavirus spreads.

June 30 2020 - 14:44

Covid-19 keeping 200 Eastern Cape schools closed: premier Oscar Mabuyane

There are 200 Eastern Cape schools that remain closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, premier Oscar Mabuyane said in Bhisho on Tuesday morning.

Mabuyane said a total of 291 schools in the province had been affected by Covid-19.

He said 24 health workers from the province have died from the virus, while 838 health workers have tested positive.

June 30 2020 - 14:25

20,140 teachers have reported comorbidities

There are 20,140 teachers above and below 60 years of age who have reported comorbidities.

This was announced by Matanzima Mweli, director-general of the department of basic education, while briefing the education portfolio committee on the state of readiness for  reopening on Tuesday.

KwaZulu-Natal had the most reported numbers with 4,127, followed by the Eastern Cape with 3,652, Gauteng with 3,048 and North West with 2,501 reported cases, Mweli said.

June 30 2020 - 14:07

Elderly Durban couple in isolation at retirement home after being struck by Covid-19

An elderly Durban couple — both residents at a retirement home — is in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19.

The two, who live at Kendra Gardens retirement facility in Greyville, are being closely monitored by a doctor.

Jerry Magjee, head of the Gujarati Hindu Sanskruti Kendra, an organisation which the facility is part of, said the couple may have contracted the virus while they were out on errands.

June 30 2020 - 13:30

Zimbabwe nurses union calls strike as virus cases climb

Zimbabwe's largest nurses union on Monday called on members to boycott work citing low pay which it said could no longer meet basic needs at a time of galloping inflation.

The strike comes as the country is experiencing an upsurge in coronavirus cases with 567 infections, including six deaths, recorded so far compared to 132 cases a month ago.

"The reality which any reasonable person will accept is that we are incapacitated from attending work even if we wanted to," the Zimbabwe Nurses' Association (ZINA), which represents around 15,000 state nurses, said in a statement.


June 30 2020 - 13:23

Nine Westville police officers test positive for Covid-19

At least nine police officers from KZN's Westville police station have tested positive for Covid-19. 

Police spokesperson Brig Jay Naicker said the cases stemmed from the detective section of the station, which was closed on Thursday. 

"The affected section was closed for decontamination, as per police protocols. The station was reopened yesterday (Monday). All officials who were exposed to the police officers were directed to undergo screening and testing as a precaution."

June 30 2020 - 11:24

UKZN medical student and staffer test positive for Covid-19

A University of KwaZulu-Natal medical student and a staff member have both tested positive for Covid-19.

The university confirmed on Tuesday that the student, based at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, had been taken for medical attention.

“Once assessed, the student will be referred to an appropriate isolation facility,” said university spokesperson Normah Zondo.

June 30 2020 - 11:22

WATCH | Eastern Cape 'in crosshairs': patients abandoned, pupil fooling around in ward

Nurses abandoning pregnant patients, a quarantined pupil fooling around and Covid-19 testing kits found dumped on the freeway: the Eastern Cape health department is in the crosshairs.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize on Tuesday took to his Twitter account to announce that the ministry had deployed officials to the Eastern Cape to help the department.

“We are sending reinforcements to the province and keep going there to inspect the progress, we are seeing changes and are monitoring the situations,” he said.

June 30 2020 - 10:58

SA's Covid-19 child deaths rise to 10 - but they likely 'had other serious illnesses'

Two more children have died from Covid-19 since Friday.

The latest statistics, released by the national department of health on Monday night, revealed that the 10th South African child to die from the virus was aged between 10 and 19.

According to the statistics, three children under the age of three and seven under the age of 19 have died from Covid-19 since the pandemic hit the country.

June 30 2020 - 10:57

Gauteng looking at 'intermittent' lockdown as it prepares for worst in Covid-19 cases

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has warned that Gauteng could soon become the epicentre of Covid-19 in SA, with a rapid increase daily in the infection rate.

This comes after the province's Covid-19 confirmed cases tipped the 39,000 mark.

To date, the province has 39,841 confirmed cases with 180 deaths.

Mkhize said Gauteng will soon surpass the Western Cape, which has 61,375 confirmed cases, as the province with the highest number of Covid-19 infections.

June 30 2020 - 10:56

Gauteng's 'Covid-19 storm' cannot be prayed away, says premier David Makhura

Gauteng premier David Makhura said a “Covid-19 storm” has arrived in the province and, unfortunately, it cannot be “prayed” away.

Speaking at an event with BMW SA and the Gauteng department of health on Monday, Makhura said the province would consider a “tougher” lockdown to halt the spread of Covid-19.

To date, the province has 39,841 confirmed cases and 180 deaths.

June 30 2020 - 09:38

Nigeria eases school, travel bans as virus cases mount

Nigeria on Monday said it was allowing children to go back to school to take exams and permitting cross-country travel despite fears over mounting coronavirus infections.

The head of the presidential task force, Sani Aliyu, gave the go-ahead for the "safe re-opening of schools to allow students in graduating classes (to) resume in-person in preparation for examinations".

A ban on travel between different regions of the country would also be lifted from the start of July, Aliyu said.


June 30 2020 - 09:34

‘We are entering the storm, numbers will grow,’ warns Zweli Mkhize

Health minister Zweli Mkhize warned that the country was “entering the storm” and that the number of Covid-19 infections will continue to rise.

“The numbers are expected to continue to grow and certainly we are not going to be over that until the month of July and end of August.

“We will have to see how our projections go beyond that time, but we certainly believe that the difficult time is July and August,” Mkhize said on Tuesday morning.

June 30 2020 - 09:15

Japan pandemic jobless data mask woe for millions

Unlike most major global powers, Japan has been spared an explosion in unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic, despite the world's third-biggest economy suffering its first recession in more than five years.

However, economists say the situation is not as rosy as the low headline figure may suggest, with millions struggling to make ends meet on precarious temporary contracts.

The latest figures published Tuesday showed Japan's unemployment rate climbed to 2.9 percent in May, up 0.3 percentage points from April and the third consecutive increase.


June 30 2020 - 08:15

Cecilia Makiwane Hospital takes strain with 122 staff members in quarantine

The high rate of Covid-19 infections among health workers at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital is threatening to collapse services at the Mdantsane facility, in East London.

So far 122 workers, including 85 nurses and doctors, have tested positive, removing them from work for 14 days.

June 30 2020 - 08:00

Another test for pupils as 6,275 teachers apply to work from home

A total of 6,275 teachers with underlying medical conditions have applied to work from home in four provinces.

And education departments vow teachers with comorbidities won’t just sit around doing nothing.

June 30 2020 - 07:14

From fraud allegations to faulty systems - how the UIF Covid-19 relief fund made headlines

Delayed payments, allegations of employers pocketing UIF payments meant for workers and investigations of fraud are some of the reasons why the Covid-19 Temporary Employment Relief Scheme (Ters) dominated headlines last week.

June 30 2020 - 07:14

June 30 2020 - 07:14

IN QUOTES | Cyril Ramaphosa calls for end to stigmatising citizens with Covid-19

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for unity during the Covid-19 pandemic, saying SA must do away with stigmatising those who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

In his latest newsletter, Ramaphosa said gone are the days when anyone could say they do not know anyone infected or affected by the virus.

June 30 2020 - 07:00

A vaccine before the end of 2021? Unlikely, says ‘bearer of bad news’

Get used to masks and social distancing until the end of 2021.

That's the word from chair of the Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee, Prof Salim Abdool Karim.

June 30 2020 - 06:30

Private medical sector wants help to fight Covid-19

The private medical sector is willing to participate in the required national response to fight the spread of Covid-19.

June 30 2020 - 06:04

'My husband couldn't breathe': Sars employee loses Covid-19 battle after 29 days on a ventilator

For many South Africans, the Covid-19 statistics released each night are numbers. But for a Durban nurse, one of those numbers has a face - a face that she loved for 28 years.

June 30 2020 - 06:03

Taxis go full throttle to become super-spreaders

A renewed push by taxi operators to run at 100% capacity will be paid for in lives.

This is according to leading SA virologists and healthcare experts.