COVID-19 WRAP | Ramaphosa cracks whip, bans alcohol immediately & over 4,000 Covid-19 deaths in SA, with 276,200 cases

Health experts say it is difficult to tell how extensive the bed shortage will be because the government is not releasing proper data on beds and other available resources.

12 July 2020 - 06:19 By TimesLIVE
Availability of hospital beds was a key talking point at a ministerial advisory committee meeting this week.
Availability of hospital beds was a key talking point at a ministerial advisory committee meeting this week.
Image: Punit PARANJPE / AFP

July 12 2020 - 10:07

IN FULL | Ramaphosa on booze ban, curfew and new laws on masks

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday announced that alcohol would be banned “with immediate effect”, that a curfew would be implemented again and that harsher lockdown law enforcement would take place.

July 12 2020 - 21:04

SA on Ramaphosa's booze news: 'Haai, not even a warning to get stock'

President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that the sale of alcohol will be immediately banned has seen a blizzard of reactions on social media.

Ramaphosa said the decision was taken to ensure hospitals were not overwhelmed with alcohol-related trauma cases.

July 12 2020 - 20:58

SA will not go back to hard lockdown: Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday night that SA would not go back to a hard lockdown.

Speaking during a national address, Ramaphosa said that going back to a level 4 or level 5 lockdown "would not necessarily achieve a significant reduction in the rate of transmission".

July 12 2020 - 20:57

'Tata is shouting at us tonight': Mzansi schooled by Ramaphosa for flouting lockdown rules

President Cyril Ramaphosa spent the first part of his address to the country on Sunday chiding citizens for not abiding by lockdown regulations.

Ramaphosa said many people are not wearing masks in packed, public spaces, are having social functions and are allowing more than 50 people at funerals and the “after tears" ceremonies.

July 12 2020 - 20:45

Alcohol will be banned 'with immediate effect': Ramaphosa

"The sale, dispensing and distribution of alcohol will be suspended with immediate effect."

This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa during a national address on Sunday night.

He said this was to make sure that hospital beds were not taken up "by those who come in resulting from alcohol-induced trauma or injuries".

July 12 2020 - 20:15

More than 4,000 Covid-19 deaths in SA, with 276,200 cases confirmed

SA has 276,242 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 4,079 deaths.

This in an increase of 12,058 infections and 108 fatalities from figures released on Saturday night.

July 12 2020 - 20:03

'We delayed the spread of the virus by being united' Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa said SA has been able to delay the spread of Covid-19.

He also warned SA that the storm and the surge of the virus was now upon the country.

"We should be deeply concerned that a quater of those who died from Covid-19 passed away in the last week."

Ramaphosa said what is happening in SA is also happening in other parts of the world.

"Many of us are afraid of the danger this presents to ourselves and our families. The coldfront is also a cause for concern... Covid-19 is stretching our resources and our resolve."

Ramaphosa addmitted that there is still a serious shortfall in healthcare personnel. He also said there has been no vaccine that has been found to cure Covid-19 but vaccine trials in SA are ongoing. 

"We are employing more doctors and nurses."

July 12 2020 - 17:36

Ramaphosa to speak tonight at 20h00

July 12 2020 - 16:56

25 people who went to illegal KZN wedding infected with Covid-19

Twenty-five people have tested positive for Covid-19 in KwaZulu-Natal after attending a wedding, in contravention of lockdown laws.

KZN residents have since been urged to adhere to the lockdown regulations after the event, which took place last week.

Premier Sihle Zikalala made the plea on Sunday as he gave an update on the pandemic in the province. He said he noted with concern the number of infections which had been recorded "as a result of social gatherings".

Important precautionary measures, including social distancing and wearing of masks, were disregarded, he said.

July 12 2020 - 16:32

Ramaphosa convenes special cabinet meeting ahead of his address tonight

July 12 2020 - 15:54

Soweto and Joburg south have the most Covid-19 cases in Gauteng

Twenty-six people succumbed to Covid-19 in Gauteng in the last 24-hour cycle, while 6,011 people were diagnosed with the virus, said the provincial health department on Sunday.

Health department spokesperson Kwara Kekana said the cumulative number of infections in the province was 93,044, with 31,831 recoveries and 580 deaths. This means there are more than 60,000 active cases in the province.

This is as the number of those hospitalised in public and private facilities increased to 3,108.

July 12 2020 - 14:45

Hungary bars travel from Africa, most of Asia over Covid-19

Hungary's government said Sunday it was barring travel from Africa, most of Asia apart from China and Japan, and restricting entry from several European countries after worldwide spikes in coronavirus cases.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Chief of Staff Gergely Gulyas said that Hungarian health officials have placed 154 countries into three risk categories based on numbers of coronavirus infections.

"We need to protect our security so that the virus is not introduced from abroad... the level of active infection cases at home is falling, and we want to keep it like that," he told reporters in Budapest.

July 12 2020 - 13:42

'The project hasn’t gone as quickly as we'd have hoped': Ventilator deadline pushed out again

The deadline to produce 20,000 noninvasive ventilators has been pushed back for a third time, with the National Ventilator Project (NVP) running a month behind schedule.

Medical experts, both independent and within the health department’s ministerial advisory committee (MAC), said that every day lost could see people’s lives hanging in the balance.

July 12 2020 - 12:04

On the frontline of Covid-19 battle

As SA braces for the peak of Covid-19, exhausted health-care workers tell how the battle against the virus is taking its toll. There are life-and-death decisions to be made, protective equipment to be found and deep fear of taking the virus to families.

July 12 2020 - 11:38

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan tests  positive for Covid-19 

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, 77, tested positive for Covid-19 on July 11 and was admitted to hospital in Mumbai, with his actor son Abhishek -- who also announced he had the virus -- saying both cases were mild.

Civic authority workers spray sanitiser on the main door of the residence of Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan as he tested positive for Covid-19 in Mumbai on July 12, 2020.
Civic authority workers spray sanitiser on the main door of the residence of Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan as he tested positive for Covid-19 in Mumbai on July 12, 2020.
Image: Sujit Jaiswal / AFP

July 12 2020 - 10:50

Mayor confirms death of 'humble, soft-spoken' BCM speaker Alfred Mtsi

Buffalo City mayor Xola Pakati has confirmed the death of speaker Alfred Mtsi from Covid-19 complications.

Mtsi died on Sunday morning at Life Beacon Bay Hospital in East London hospital, DispatchLIVE reported. He was hospitalised on Tuesday night. 

July 12 2020 - 9:55

PODCAST | The fight to prepare: Will SA's hospitals be ready for the worst of Covid-19?

It's week 14 of SA’s national lockdown, and it is crystal clear that preparations of the most morbid sort are under way. From the development of field hospitals to the creation of added burial capacity, there is a mad dash under way in SA's health sector.

The questions the country faces are: have we done enough, and are we ready for what comes next?

In today’s episode, we consider those very questions.

July 12 2020 - 9:15

Trump finally dons mask as US sets new virus case record

President Donald Trump finally yielded to pressure and wore a face mask in public for the first time on Saturday as the US posted another daily record for coronavirus cases, while Disney World reopened in a state hit hard by the pandemic.

White House experts leading the national fight against the contagion have recommended wearing face coverings in public to prevent transmission of the illness.

But Trump had repeatedly avoided wearing a mask, even after staffers at the White House tested positive for the virus and as more aides have taken to wearing them.

July 12 2020 6:00

Tobacco firms deny they're behind illegal cigarette sales

The government’s seeming inability to stem the flow of cigarettes onto SA’s streets has raised questions of when, or if, the long arm of the law will reach the main suppliers.

Professor Corne van Walbeek, director of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT’s) research unit on the economics of excisable products, said of the illegal sales: “It raises the question of whether the government is too scared to go after the source of these cigarettes.”

Police this week did not respond to questions on what measures were being taken to clamp down on the sales, how many cigarettes had been confiscated and how many arrests had been made.

July 12 2020 6:00

Even having medical aid won't secure a place in hospital

A looming shortage of ICU and general ward beds means severely ill Covid patients - even those with medical aid - may not make it through the door at hospitals in hot-spot areas that are close to capacity.

In Gauteng, which is SA's centre of infections, health MEC Bandile Masuku said his department expected a shortage of at least 800 beds by the end of the month.

July 12 2020 6:00

Ramaphosa to address the nation as Covid-19 storm threatens to engulf health system

A reintroduction of the night-time curfew, tightening regulations on the sale of alcohol, limiting movement between provinces and enforcing a limited load in minibus taxis and other modes of public transport are on the cards as President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation tonight.