COVID-19 WRAP | 'Bodies are piling up': Eastern Cape funeral parlours plead for help

09 July 2020 - 06:27 By TimesLIVE
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President Cyril Ramaphosa, accompanied by Gauteng premier David Makhura and Gauteng MEC for health Bandile Masuku, during a visit to a quarantine site.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, accompanied by Gauteng premier David Makhura and Gauteng MEC for health Bandile Masuku, during a visit to a quarantine site.

July 9 2020 - 21:50

Over 13,500 new Covid-19 cases in SA in another record-shattering day

South Africa recorded its highest ever single-day increase in Covid-19 cases, with 13,674 infections confirmed in the past 24 hours.

Nearly half of these new cases - a massive 6,531 - were recorded in Gauteng.

This is according to statistics released by the health minister on Thursday night - based on the highest number of tests done in SA in a single day (56,170).

July 9 2020 - 16:25

Africa should want to be in more, not fewer, vaccine trials: top scientists

Africans should be clamouring to be part of vaccine trials so we have equal access, rather than saying we’re being used as guinea pigs, say top African scientists.

They said that only 2% of clinical trials happen in Africa, yet the continent has 17% of the world’s population and thus misses out on early rollout of life-saving preventions.

In a webinar moderated by media expert Tsepiso Makwetla and hosted by the World Health Organisation, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, said participation in trials would prevent a repetition of Africa being last to benefit from scientific developments.

July 9 2020 - 15:28

North West unveils hospital beds after Covid-19 deaths jump from seven to 36

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, the North West has unveiled 435 standard beds, 33 high-care beds and 55 intensive-care unit beds to treat expected patients.

The province recorded 7,147 infections, 36 deaths and 1,456 recoveries on Wednesday. 

Health department spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said some of the deaths were not reported immediately. 

July 9 2020 - 15:11

Cancel the school year 'for the sake of our children': Jonathan Jansen

Dear minister Angie

By now you must realise that, despite your best efforts, you cannot salvage the academic year. In fact, by the time the last grades return to school (grades 5 and 8), per your government gazette of July 7 2020,  it will be August 31, which means the year is effectively over, as schools enter the downhill sprint in preparation for final examinations.

It is not entirely your fault. You could not have foreseen the spikes in rates of Covid-19 infection and death long before the expected peak later this year. There was understandable pressure on you to cover the curriculum and complete the year-end examinations. Who wants to deal with the messiness of this disruption for university entrance without the evaluation benchmark provided by the national senior certificate? Or the enormous staffing and material costs of designing a hybrid (mixed-grade) curriculum for 2021? I get it: life would be so much simpler if we could salvage the academic year.

July 9 2020 - 15:11

'Bodies are piling up': Eastern Cape funeral parlours plead for help

Funeral parlours in the Eastern Cape are struggling to cope with the influx of corpses as Covid-19 sweeps through the province.

Desperate parlour owners are appealing to premier Oscar Mabuyane to help alleviate the backlog. They say as quickly as they bury people, more corpses arrive, reports DispatchLIVE.

The owners attribute the backlog to delays in death certificates being signed off, without which bodies cannot be released to families for burial or cremation.

July 9 2020 - 15:05

China offers glimpse inside lab near Wuhan virus origin

Chinese state media has offered a rare glimpse of the lab at the heart of coronavirus conspiracy theories, as it seeks to push back against claims the facility was the source of the global pandemic.

President Donald Trump and other US figures have repeatedly suggested the virus could have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, or even been deliberately produced there.

Footage broadcast by state-run CCTV is believed to be the first from within the institute's P4 lab -- for highly-dangerous Class 4 pathogens -- since its inauguration in 2017.


July 9 2020 - 15:02

Prof Abdool Karim on smoking, eating out & school: 'Everything we do seems contradictory'

The chair of the Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee, Prof Salim Abdool Karim, says that while many of the measures taken during lockdown may seem contradictory, SA has to find a way to “work with the virus”.

Abdool Karim was responding to a question by Jacaranda's Martin Bester about whether children returning to school was the right decision.

He said, “We are in that stage of the epidemic where most things we do are contradictory. We have an increasing number of cases, but we are easing restrictions. We have a growing number of cases, but we say it's OK to go to a restaurant.”

July 9 2020 - 14:25

How to protect yourself from airborne transmission of Covid-19

University of the Witwatersrand professor Shabir Madhi, who has said that airborne transmission of Covid-19 has been underestimated, has listed ways for people to protect themselves.

Madhi said this week that experience from what is termed “super-spreader events” suggested that there was a fair amount of airborne transmission of the virus taking place.

He said it was “safe to say” airborne transmissions were a reality, and that this explained the rapid rate at which the coronavirus was being transmitted.

July 9 2020 - 14:23

There are 2,692 Covid-19 cases in Gauteng's hospitals

Private and state hospitals in Gauteng are treating 2,692 patients for Covid-19, the provincial government says. This is up from 2,553 people who were in hospital two days ago.

The province recorded 3,527 new cases in the past 24-hour cycle, the government said on Thursday. No deaths were recorded over the past day.

Spokesperson Kwara Kekana said the cumulative number of infections in the province was 75,015, with 23,804 recoveries and 478 deaths.

July 9 2020 - 14:13

'Did we just dig like 952,000 too many graves?': Mzansi reacts to those Covid graves

First there was panic.

Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku said on Wednesday the province was preparing grave sites for potential mass burials as Covid cases spike.

1.5 million grave sites to be exact.

Mzansi was shooketh.

July 9 2020 - 13:17

Women, including nurses, most affected by Covid-19 at work: Compensation Fund

The majority of claims lodged with the labour department's Compensation Fund in all nine provinces so far are from women — with nurses on the front line bearing the biggest brunt of contracting Covid-19 at work.

Department spokesperson Teboho Thejane said more than 80% of claims lodged were from women.

Thejane said the fund has received a total of 941 claims to date with the highest number coming from the Western Cape, which has recorded 657 claims.

Of the 941 claims, 533 are from women.

July 9 2020 - 13:15

1.5 million Covid-19 grave sites being dug in Gauteng? Nah! Sifting through the confusion

Confusion on grave sites being dug in Gauteng has sparked major debate among citizens.

July 9 2020 - 13:14

In numbers: Where Gauteng stands with Covid-19

July 9 2020 - 13:05

Rami Chuene weighs in on 'obesity increases Covid-19 mortality rate' claims

Veteran actress Rami Chuene has responded to claims that obese people are potentially more at risk of dying if they contract Covid-19.

July 9 2020 - 13:03

Western Cape road safety director dies from Covid-19 related illness

A man dedicated to making roads safer in the Western Cape has died from a Covid-19 related illness.

Mark Jansen, the provincial director of road safety management, was 53 when he passed away on Wednesday.

DA provincial spokesperson on transport and public works Daylin Mitchell said Jansen left behind two children.

“We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time,” he said.

July 9 2020 - 11:59

Head of Gauteng health 'war room' and five others test positive for Covid-19

Six people from the Gauteng department of health's Covid-19 war room have tested positive for the virus.

Among them is the head of the department, Prof Mkhululi Lukhele, department spokesperson Kwara Kekana said.

Kekana said the colleagues were doing “well” and self-isolating at home.

July 9 2020 - 11:58

Johannesburg 'is not digging graves in anticipation of Covid-19 deaths'

Johannesburg said on Thursday that it was not preparing graves for mass burials.

SA recorded 8,811 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, taking the total number of confirmed infections to 224,665. Gauteng accounted for 3,527 of those new cases, meaning it has replaced the Western Cape as the province with most confirmed infections, TimesLIVE reported overnight.

Provincial health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku and officials from forensic pathology services visited an area reserved for Covid-19 burials in Tshwane on Wednesday. That site was being prepared for a potential worst case scenario — should the need arise for mass burials.

July 9 2020 - 11:39

Fever and high blood sugar force Covid-positive Alan Winde to scrap news conference

Western Cape premier Alan Winde postponed a Covid-19 media conference on Thursday, a day after announcing he had contracted the virus.

"The premier has taken the decision to rest at home, on the advice of his doctor, with a slight fever as a result of Covid-19,” said Winde's spokesperson, Bianca Capazorio.

July 9 2020 - 11:38

KZN-born teacher living in China on how to curb Covid infections

As the country battles the coronavirus, a South African living and teaching in a Chinese city where the pandemic has been contained offers the assurance it can be beaten, and shares his own experience.

Ndumiso Chili on Thursday told TimesLIVE that in the city of Xi'an where he is based,  they are reaping the benefits of having followed strict lockdown regulations when they were first implemented at the start of the outbreak.

“None of our students have tested positive for Covid-19,” said Chili, who teaches English and biology to grade 10-12 pupils.

July 9 2020 - 11:29

Gauteng health confirms six Covid-19 cases in war room

July 9 2020 - 11:19

New study finds Covid-19 may cause brain damage, even in mild cases

Potentially fatal Covid-19 complications in the brain including delirium, nerve damage and stroke may be more common than initially thought, a team of British-based doctors warned Wednesday.

Severe Covid-19 infections are known to put patients at risk of neurological complications, but research led by University College London suggests serious problems can occur even in individuals with mild cases of the virus.

July 9 2020 - 10:51

Ramaphosa to chair PCC meeting to deliberate on Covid-19 command council's recommendations

July 9 2020 - 09:38

Excess deaths almost 7,000 since May and still accelerating, say experts

SA recorded almost 2,500 excess deaths in the first half of the year, according to the latest Medical Research Council estimates.

But after statistical adjustments, the estimated number of excess deaths attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic in the last two months is almost 7,000.

July 9 2020 - 08:11

Reasons why HIV-positive patients default on ARVs during the lockdown

Fear of contracting Covid-19, transport problems and economic reasons such as the increase in costs of travelling are some of the reasons that have kept many HIV-positive South Africans from collecting their medication during the lockdown, a new study has revealed.

The new research on the impact of the lockdown on decentralised antiretroviral therapy programmes, which was presented at the 23rd International Aids Conference on Wednesday, has also revealed that mistrust of the government and health sector’s management of Covid-19 has driven many HIV patients underground.

July 9 2020 - 07:00

'We haven't reached stage of cancelling academic year': Nzimandende

July 9 2020 - 06:41

This is it, SA. We’ve reached the surge and hospitals will be swamped

SA will need fewer hospital beds for Covid-19 patients than initially expected, but every province is expected to be overwhelmed nonetheless.

This is according to the health minister, who told MPs​, “we have now reached the surge”.

July 9 2020 - 06:40

'We have to leave the children in their cribs': Doctors share emotional stories of life on the Covid-19 front line

Doctor Sanelisiwe Balfour is often the bearer of bad news. This week, the paediatrician-in-training at a public hospital in Johannesburg was tasked with telling a mom who brought her daughter to the hospital that she had tested positive for Covid-19.

The woman, whose 12-year-old daughter was in a diabetic coma, mentioned during the regulatory screening process that she had a slight fever and had been coughing. She wasn’t there for herself but rather for her sick daughter.

July 9 2020 - 06:39

Restaurants take government to court over 'absurd' alcohol, social distancing rules

A group of restaurants is heading to court to force the government to allow their patrons to drink alcohol with their meals.

Led by Cape Town-based Chefs Warehouse restaurants, the group said in court papers filed on Wednesday that it wanted the matter to be heard on an urgent basis on Tuesday morning, or as soon soon as possible thereafter.

According to the group, opening up the industry to sell food but not alcoholic beverages is like telling a swimming instructor she can reopen her business but her learners are not allowed to swim in the pool.

July 9 2002 - 06:20

'Don't use data to download undesirable content' : Nzimande on remote learning

Higher education science and innovation minister Blade Nzimande has cautioned university students against using data given to them for remote learning carelessly.

"The more you spend your data on downloading movies and watching undesirable content, the further away you are from wearing your graduation gown."

July 9 2020 - 06:15

Zweli Mkhize says Gauteng may run out of hospital beds as it is declared Covid-19 epicentre

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