COVID-19 WRAP | Physical distancing is imperative, but this is why planes can be 100% full

13 July 2020 - 07:25 By TimesLIVE
Municipal workers clean and disinfect a sidewalk in Tepito neighborhood in Mexico City on July 12, 2020, amid the new coronavirus pandemic.
Municipal workers clean and disinfect a sidewalk in Tepito neighborhood in Mexico City on July 12, 2020, amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

July 13 2020 - 19:59

Government did not buckle under taxi industry pressure, says Mkhize

There has been no capitulation by the government under pressure from the taxi industry.

This is according to health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, who was speaking on Monday in the wake of an announcement from President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night that taxis could be fully loaded for short distances.

The minister was responding to a question during a media briefing, in which he was asked whether the government was capitulating because it did not want to be at loggerheads with the taxi industry.

July 13 2020 - 19:28

R1.2bn paid to 3 million unemployed South Africans in Covid-19 relief grant

More than R1.2bn has been paid to over 3 million unemployed South Africans who qualify for the special Covid-19 social relief of distress grant.

Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu said 7.5 million applications for the R350 grants were received, of which 4.4 million were approved.

“In line with our commitment that we will pay success applications from May, I can confirm that 3,429,808 of the approved applications were paid as at July 12,” she said on Monday.

July 13 2020 - 18:19

Alan Winde blasts Cyril Ramaphosa's 'tourism accommodation ban'

Western Cape premier Alan Winde says the tourism sector will “likely be decimated” following a ban on leisure tourism accommodation announced in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address on Sunday.

He said the decision for the ban was made “without proper scientific evidence or reasoning to support” it, putting 200,000 tourism jobs in the Western Cape alone at risk.

“I am deeply concerned by the effective banning of all leisure tourism accommodation as promulgated in regulations yesterday,” Winde said on Monday.

July 13 2020 - 18:11

Physical distancing is imperative, but this is why planes can be 100% full

“No social distancing as advertised and promised ... Don’t overbook the flights!” Suria Engelbrecht tweeted on Sunday evening, along with a photo of a very full plane, shortly after her FlySafair flight from Durban landed at Cape Town International Airport.

“So much emphasis is being put on social distancing at airports, restaurants and shops, but none of these measures are in place on a plane. Airlines should respect the distancing rules as all the other industries are doing. FlySafair allows you to block the middle seat, but for an extra R750 - if one is available, that is.

“If not, they just pack us all in together,” she said.

July 13 2020 - 16:38

1,500 people admitted with Covid-19 in Gauteng hospitals in just one day

An extra 1,516 people were admitted in Gauteng hospitals in just 24 hours, the provincial government confirmed on Monday.

In the same period, from Saturday to Sunday, 64 deaths were recorded.

Spokesperson Kwara Kekana said on Monday that the cumulative number of infections in the province was now 98,431, with 33,514 recoveries and 644 deaths. There are now 4,624 admitted in provincial hospitals.

July 13 2020 - 16:32

KZN hotels to get cash injection for providing quarantine sites

Several hotels in KwaZulu-Natal are set to get financial relief from the department of health for their properties being used as official Covid-19 quarantine sites.

In a statement on Sunday, Tourism KZN said these hotels had displayed “a spirit of humanity” in offering the use of their spaces.

“There will be financial relief in the form of cheques from the department of health for operators of several Durban hotels who have displayed a spirit of humanity in allowing their establishments to be used as official quarantine sites," it said.

July 13 2020 - 16:21

Commuters, car guards and taxi drivers in Joburg heed call to wear masks

Johannesburg commuters on Monday appeared to be heeding President Cyril Ramaphosa’s instruction to wear masks.

Shortly after Ramaphosa’s address on the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday night, new regulations including rules on the wearing of masks, were gazetted.

According to the new regulations, public transport drivers and operators who allow commuters into their vehicles without a face mask can be prosecuted and jailed for up to six months, be fined, or both.

July 13 2020 - 16:16

Sowetans don masks but disregard social distancing rules

Soweto residents on Monday appeared to be heeding President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call to wear face masks in public, but were reluctant to stay home or practise social distancing. 

The township now accounts for the majority of Covid-19 cases in Gauteng. Health department spokesperson Kwara Kekana on Sunday 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. The provincial breakdown per sub-district shows that Doornkop, Soweto, Dobsonville and Protea Glen account for the majority of the cases, with 9,457.

July 13 2020 - 15:58

'I feel fine,' says deputy minister after positive Covid-19 test

Deputy social development minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu has tested positive for Covid-19, her ministry announced on Monday.

Bogopane-Zulu was in self-isolation.

In a statement, she said that she was in good spirits.

July 13 2020 - 15:39

Failure to enforce wearing of masks can get you a criminal record: Lamola

Failure to enforce the wearing of a face mask could result in a criminal record for event organisers, store managers and other compliance officers, the government has warned.

And if individual compliance does not improve, then the government may impose the same criminality on individuals who do not adhere to the mandatory wearing of masks announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday.

“It does indeed create a criminal offence,” said justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola on Monday, responding to a question on whether wearing a mask would attract a criminal record.

July 13 2020 - 15:07

Eastern Cape judge Patrick Jaji dies of Covid-19 complications

Eastern Cape judge Patrick Jaji has died of Covid-19 related complications, the judiciary announced on Monday.

Jaji died on Sunday.

“The judges and staff of the Eastern Cape division were shocked to learn of the sudden and untimely death of judge Jaji. He had tested positive for Covid-19 and had been subsequently hospitalised,” the judiciary said in a statement.

July 13 2020 - 15:06

Sudden alcohol ban could be dangerous, warn addiction experts

The renewed alcohol ban may reduce the flow of trauma patients to hospitals during the Covid-19 peak, but its abrupt withdrawal is not necessarily good news for alcoholics.

An abrupt withdrawal of alcohol could result in a loss of consciousness or seizures for those who are addicted to it, said Taku Mhonyera, head of addiction treatment and a counsellor at Crossroads Recovery Centre in Johannesburg on Monday.

“Those who are properly into alcohol addiction can get withdrawals, which can be quite dangerous. You can end up having seizures and other medical problems. They might try to figure out what other drug can be a substitute,” said Mhonyera.

July 13 2020 - 15:00

10 rules for Johannesburg's city parks in lockdown - and some remain closed

Johannesburgers can visit local parks near them from Wednesday but reserves including the botanical gardens will open only in August - and a 3m rule has been introduced for social distancing.

After President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement on Sunday night, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo said it would ensure that parks are opened by midweek, “to allow residents to keep fit and healthy by exercising in proximity to their homes”.

Nature reserves, including The Wilds, Kloofendal and Klipriversberg nature reserves and the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens will open from August 1. This is to allow for a phased-in approach because of limited resources, said city parks.

July 13 2020 - 14:57

AKA clears the air on claims his Covid-19 bombshell was a 'publicity stunt'

Rapper AKA has rubbished suggestions that his Covid-19 revelation was a publicity stunt done in collaboration with the government.

The Jika star surprised fans last Friday when he confirmed he had contracted the coronavirus and was in self-isolation.

The rapper said he decided to make his results public to “create awareness around the virus and to caution citizens to be more careful in their daily interactions with others”. 

July 13 2020 - 14:56

LOL! Bonang asks Charlize Theron to come deal with government's alcohol ban 2.0

"Alcohol ban: The Return" has left Mzansi feeling some type of way, and the good sis Bonang Matheba has reached out to Charlize Theron to intervene.

While local celebs are also going through their feels about the ban on the sale alcohol, most have also said they understand why the President Cyril Ramaphosa had to do it.

LOL! But that didn't stop Bonang from jokingly telling sis' Charlize to come home and help with the situation.

July 13 2020 - 14:54

Restart of the suspended PSL season still up in the air‚ reveals league chairman Khoza

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs and fans will have to wait a little longer before they find out when is the season is going to resume.

PSL chairman Irvin Khoza addressed an eagerly anticipated press conference on Monday and said he was not in a position to confirm a date to restart the season that was suspended due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March.

“What we have done‚ and it is a practice that is normal‚ we submitted the dates to the mother body (the South African Football Association).

July 13 2020 - 14:16

Nigeria doctors launch latest strike amid pandemic

Doctors in Nigeria's largest city Lagos began a three-day warning strike on Monday over welfare and inadequate protective kits, but said medics handling coronavirus cases would not be involved.

The industrial action is the latest in a string of stoppages by medics to hit Africa's most populous nation as it struggles to halt rising infections.

Doctors under the auspices of the Medical Guild Association said they called the strike after the Lagos state government failed to meet demands for additional pay and better protection.

"The issue of Covid-19 hazard allowances and inducement allowances... approved by the federal government to the doctors has not been approved by Lagos government to her doctors," leader Oluwajimi Sodipo said in a statement.

July 13 2020 - 14:15

New US health crisis looms as patients without Covid-19 delay care

A Texas man who waited until his brain tumor was softball-sized; a baby who suffered an ear infection for six days; a heart patient who died: The resurgence of Covid-19 is creating another health crisis as hospitals fill and patients are fearful or unable to get non-emergency care.

With US coronavirus infections reaching new heights, doctors and hospitals say they are also seeing sharp declines in patients seeking routine medical care and screenings - and a rise in those who have delayed care for so long they are far sicker than they otherwise would be.

"I had one lady who had delayed for five days coming in with abdominal pain that was getting worse and worse," said Dr. Diana Fite, who practices emergency medicine in Houston. "When she finally came in, she had a ruptured appendix."

July 13 2020 - 14:14

Union Numsa brings drug remdesivir to SA to treat Covid-19 patients

A subsidiary of Numsa Investment Company has partnered with an Indian group listed in the US to roll out remdesivir —  an antiviral drug which has shown promise in treating Covid-19 — in SA from August.

In terms of the deal, 3Sixty Biopharmaceuticals (3Sixty Biopharma), a division of Numsa Investment Company’s subsidiary 3Sixty Global Solutions Group, has been appointed by Jubilant Generics to supply remdesivir in southern Africa. Numsa Investment Company invests on behalf of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).

Jubilant Generics is a subsidiary of the Indian company Jubilant Life Sciences.

July 13 2020 - 13:46

Curbs don't limit freedom, they limit Covid-19: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Stringent lockdown measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday, including the suspension of liquor sales and the return of a night curfew were being imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said this in a follow-up briefing on Monday.

She said though SA was number 25 in terms of population size in the world, it is now ranked 10th highest in the number of Covid-19 cases.

She said SA ranked higher in terms of the number of new cases per day. “We must do everything to protect this beautiful nation of ours.”

July 13 2020 - 13:08

'Not wearing a mask in public is now a criminal offence': Ronald Lamola

July 13 2020 - 11:12

WATCH LIVE | National Coronavirus Command Council on new Covid-19 regulations

July 13 2020 - 10:04

About that booze ban: Massive outpouring of support & anger

The immediate reinforcement of the ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol has been met with mixed reactions since its announcement on Sunday night.

In his address to the nation, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the ban was aimed at reducing the volume of alcohol-related trauma and injured patients so hospitals would have more beds open to treat Covid-19 patients.

Ramaphosa said since the sale and distribution of alcohol was reintroduced in June, hospitals have seen a spike in admissions in their trauma and emergency wards.

July 13 2020 - 09:44

Job losses, family visits and closing schools – political parties react to Ramaphosa’s speech

There have been mixed reactions following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Sunday evening.

Ramaphosa announced that the sale of alcohol would be banned “with immediate effect”,  a curfew would be implemented again and harsher lockdown law enforcement would take place

Ramaphosa said the ban on the sale alcohol was to ensure hospital beds were not taken up “by those who come in resulting from alcohol-induced trauma or injuries”.

July 13 2020 - 09:41

Abdul Khoza tests positive for Covid-19: There's nothing to fear

Isibaya actor Abdul Khoza has revealed he is currently in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19.

The actor took to his Instagram to share the news, but added that he was feeling okay and only experiencing mild symptoms.

"I tested positive for Covid-19, but I'm already quarantining at home and taking all my medication. So far I feel fine and have only experienced mild symptoms," he said.

July 13 2020 - 09:26

Nigeria gets medical equipment from ECOWAS to fight virus

West African regional grouping ECOWAS said on Saturday it had donated medical equipment to Nigeria to assist in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

"The ECOWAS Commission, through the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) has handed over essential medical equipment to the government of Nigeria as part of the regional response strategy to the Covid-19 pandemic," the 15-member bloc said in a statement.

July 13 2020 - 09:25

Japan, US discussing jump in coronavirus cases at US military bases

Japan and the United States are sharing information about coronavirus cases at US military bases in Okinawa prefecture, a government spokesman said on Monday, after 62 new cases were confirmed at three bases.

Okinawa prefecture said 39 people at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, 22 people in Camp Hansen and 1 person in Camp Kinser had tested positive for Covid-19 between July 7 thorugh 12.

July 13 2020 - 08:40

Alcohol industry queries ban chosen over plan to curb problem drinking

The government's ban on the sale of alcohol during the lockdown was reinstated without warning on Sunday night, and without considering the industry's attempts to address behavioural changes around problem drinking.

This is the reaction from the SA alcohol industry, including the National Liquor Traders Council, SA Liquor Brand owners Association, the Beer Association of SA, Vinpro, the Liquor Traders Association of SA and manufacturers.

The industry said it has continuously engaged with government over the past month to ensure compliance with the limited trading days and hours imposed when the initial ban was modified, as well as adherence to the safety protocols in formal retail and taverns.

July 13 2020 - 07:40

Everything you need to know about SA's new lockdown laws

At about 9pm on Sunday night, more than a dozen new pieces of legislation were thrust upon SA.

They cover everything from alcohol, cigarettes and wearing a mask to when you can leave your home.

The laws, gazetted by cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, take effect immediately.

July 13 2020 - 07:38

Absentee rates up to 40% as Covid-19 fears keep pupils at home

A spike in Covid-19 infections at schools and parents’ reluctance to send their children back to class has forced many pupils to stay away.

A teacher and a principal group said many schools ​had absentee rates of between 30% and 40%.

July 13 2020 - 07:21

'I won't commend you on banning alcohol, because we warned you': Julius Malema 

July 13 2020 - 7:00

Fynbos expert edited scientific paper in hospital before dying of Covid-19

Well-known Cape Town horticulturist and conservationist Anthony Hitchcock died in hospital on Tuesday of Covid-19 complications while undergoing treatment for cancer.

The 60-year-old Hitchcock was the nursery and threatened species programme manager at the SA National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). He was a dedicated and highly regarded fynbos expert who led various plant restoration projects in the Western Cape, and was reportedly still editing a scientific paper while in hospital.

July 13 2020 - 6:00

WATCH | 4-year-old's frustrations about Covid-19 lockdown go viral

4- year-old Blake McLean's pandemic meltdown is the most relatable thing on social media right now

I am 😭😭😭😭 Yall we not gone make it! The Coronavirus done shut down the ice cream truck 💀😂 *I have been trying to locate...

Posted by Ahmad Hall on Monday, 6 July 2020

July 13 2020 - 6:00

Dis-Chem halts drive-through Covid-19 testing sites in Gauteng: what you need to know

Pharmaceutical retailer Dis-Chem has closed down its drive-through Covid-19 testing sites due to backlogs and an unanticipated increase in the infection rate in Gauteng.

Dis-Chem launched the drive-through Covid-19 testing sites in Gauteng in April, with each test costing R850.

In June, the pharmaceutical retailer announced that it would be offering free tests to all unemployed South Africans and those with a job but without medical aid.

'Foreseeable future'

According to Dis-Chem, it was closing its testing facilities for the “foreseeable future” as the results have severely affected the capacity of laboratories.

July 13 2020 - 6:00

An organisation claiming to represent thousands of businesses has called on the government to call off the lockdown

An organisation claiming to represent thousands of businesses has called on the government to call off the lockdown, which it says has left many with no means of putting food on the table.

The group “End Lockdown SA” made the call on Sunday in an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa and members of his executive, among others. They argued that the lockdown has impacted negatively on their ability to make an income since it was imposed nearly 110 days ago.

July 13 2020 - 5:30

'No, Gauteng has not run out of oxygen,' says provincial health department

The Gauteng health department has denied claims the province has run out of oxygen amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.

July 13 2020 - 5:00

Employees can check payment status on UIF Covid-19 portal, but it has flaws

Employees who have not received payouts from the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters), which is the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Covid-19 fund, since the beginning of lockdown, have no way of finding out what could be outstanding or delaying their payouts.