COVID-19 WRAP | Gwede Mantashe hospitalised after testing positive for Covid-19

20 July 2020 - 07:21 By TimesLIVE
A health worker closes the chamber during the cremation of the body of Prof. Charles Kariuki who died due to Covid-19, at a crematorium in Nairobi, Kenya, on July 20 2020.
A health worker closes the chamber during the cremation of the body of Prof. Charles Kariuki who died due to Covid-19, at a crematorium in Nairobi, Kenya, on July 20 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

July 20 2020 - 19:58

Gwede Mantashe hospitalised after testing positive for Covid-19

"Today, Minister Mantashe was admitted to hospital on the advice of their family doctor for better medical attention and monitoring, whilst Mrs Mantashe will continue to self-quarantine at their home."

July 20 2020 - 18:49

Western Cape opens third Covid-19 facility

July 20 2020 - 17:41

Nine out of 10 South Africans worried about paying bills as Covid-19 bites

As many as 91% of South Africans are concerned about being able to pay bills and loans four months into the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a TransUnion survey released on Monday.

TransUnion has conducted weekly surveys on how much consumers in SA have been affected by the lockdown.

In the previous surveys, rent and utility payments were the two bills that consumers were most concerned about being able to pay.

July 20 2020 - 16:57

ICC postpones T20 Cricket World Cup in Australia due to Covid-19

This year's Twenty20 Cricket World Cup, which was scheduled to begin in Australia on October 18, has been postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the sport's governing International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Monday.

"At today’s meeting ... windows for the next three ICC men’s events were also agreed to bring clarity to the calendar and give the sport the best possible opportunity," the ICC said in a statement after a meeting of its commercial subsidiary IBC.

Accordingly, there will be back-to-back men's Twenty20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022 before the 50-overs World Cup in India in 2023.

July 20 2020 - 16:43

Thousands of bogus claims and 'double-dipping' slow UIF payouts

More than 4,000 Covid-19 related UIF claims were made on behalf of people who had died, about 90,000 were made with invalid ID numbers and close to 200,000 made with ID numbers couldn't be found on any government system.

This is according to the employment and labour department, which said on Monday that it had been inundated with fraudulent claims made with the Covid-19 related temporary employer/employee relief scheme (Ters).

This, the department said, had resulted in delayed payouts - but it promised that all valid claims would be paid.

July 20 2020 - 16:22

Mob burns week-old Covid-19 treatment facility in Khayelitsha

Cape Town’s newly built facility meant for Covid-19 patients in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, was torched, allegedly by people protesting over land on Saturday.

The estimated loss is R1m, according to mayor Dan Plato. The facility had been open for only a week.

Plato said on Monday the facility was meant to serve vulnerable Covid-19 patients needing treatment, testing and isolation.

July 20 2020 - 15:51

France says up to 500 virus clusters but no 'second wave' yet

French authorities have reported 400 to 500 active coronavirus outbreak clusters but there are no signs of an imminent "second wave," Health Minister Olivier Veran said Monday.

Many of the current virus clusters involve abattoirs or other contained professional settings such as old age homes, he said.

Others had resulted from family reunions during the summer holidays.

July 20 2020 - 15:46

Ghana says 2,000 health workers infected by virus

Over 2,000 health workers in Ghana have contracted coronavirus since the outbreak of the pandemic in the West African nation, the authorities have said.

"The total number of health workers infected is 2,065," Patrick Kumah-Aboagye, the director general of the country's health service, said Thursday.

"Out of that number, 1,870 have recovered and 183 are in isolation centers or undergoing treatment at home."

July 20 2020 - 15:34

'Breakthrough' treatment slashes virus death risk: study

An aerosol-based drug treatment could drastically reduce the number of new coronavirus patients dying from the disease or requiring intensive care, according to preliminary results released Monday by a British biotech firm.

In a randomised trial of 100 patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19, those who received an inhaled formula of the protein interferon beta were at 79 percent lower risk of developing severe disease compared to those who received a placebo.

They were also more than twice as likely to make a full recovery compared with the control group.

July 20 2020 - 14:23

Zweli Mkhize checks readiness of hospitals for infection peak in Gauteng

Health minister Zweli Mkhize and Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku visited Nasrec and Lenasia hospitals in Johannesburg on Monday to assess their readiness for the Covid-19 peak.

“Today what we are really up to is to see how things are tying up in terms of additional beds available. We are going around to see if Gauteng can show its readiness,” Mkhize said during a media briefing.

He said a reduction of trauma patients brought about by the ban on alcohol sales was a “huge” advantage for the health department.

July 20 2020 - 14:18

Virgin Active to cut salaries by 75% in 'temporary layoffs' during lockdown

Virgin Active says “temporary layoffs” are on the cards for staff at its gyms, head office and contact centre.

The company has denied rumours about staff being retrenched, saying on Monday that staff would be temporarily “laid off” while receiving 25% of their salaries.

“To support our staff, they will receive at least 25% of their income despite suspended employment,” a Virgin Active spokesperson told TimesLIVE. “A reopening of gyms will allow us to abandon these temporary layoffs and reinstate our people to their jobs.”

July 20 2020 - 14:08

'It was a waste of time' - Teacher unions 'dumbstruck' at meeting on school closures

The country’s five teacher unions were flabbergasted on Sunday night when deputy basic education minister Reginah Mhaule and a task team comprising five education MECs asked them for proposals on why schools should be closed.

July 20 2020 - 13:44

Pravin Gordhan deployed to lead Tshwane’s fight against Covid-19

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan will lead Tshwane’s fight against Covid-19, the city confirmed on Monday.

Tshwane head administrator Mpho Nawa said Gordhan had been deployed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to the city to lead the district efforts in the fight against the pandemic. The city has been identified as a hotspot.

Nawa said they had implemented a ward-based Covid-19 outreach screening and testing campaign, targeting hotspots.

July 20 2020 - 13:36

Chatsworth police station closes again after staff test positive for Covid-19

The Chatsworth police station, south of Durban, has closed after staff members tested positive for Covid-19 again.

​Police spokesperson Brig Jay Naicker said the station has been closed temporarily after staff tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday.

In May the station closed for decontamination after a constable contracted the coronavirus.

July 20 2020 - 13:04 

Avbob prepares for Covid-19 spike with shipping containers for bodies

One of SA's biggest funeral parlours has begun converting shipping containers into mobile mortuaries in anticipation of a spike in Covid-19-related deaths.

Avbob has already produced nine mobile mortuaries at a factory in Bloemfontein to ensure it does not run out of space when Covid-19 deaths are at a peak.

July 20 2020 - 12:37 

COVID-19 SURVIVORS | ‘You feel like you are drowning in darkness’: former MP and wife beat virus

Donald Smiles walked to the bedroom where his wife lay with a fever and read the message from the pathology laboratory.  

“I took her hand, held her and told her that her test results came back positive. She took a deep breath. I could see the worry on her face. She told me she expected it,” former DA MP Smiles told TimesLIVE on Monday.

July 20 2020 - 10:55

President pleased youth have seized opportunity provided by Covid-19 pandemic to create own incomes

President Cyril Ramaphosa has praised young entrepreneurs who have seized opportunities that contribute to the economy and alleviation of poverty during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am very pleased at the combination of foresight, creativity and business acumen displayed by a number of young South Africans who are coming up with home-grown solutions to the contemporary challenges we face,” Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter.

“Some have started small business ventures because of personal circumstances, like losing their jobs. Others who were previously unemployed have seized the opportunity provided by the pandemic to create their own incomes.”

He cited a number of businesses run by young people around the country, including a bicycle-based delivery service in Cape Town’s Langa township.

July 20 2020 - 10:50

Two arrested after Pretoria funeral as cops warn Covid-19 rules will be enforced

Gauteng police have warned they are ready to clamp down on mourners when the number of people in attendance at funerals surpasses 50, as stipulated by the Disaster Management Act (DMA) regulations.

July 20 2020 - 09:43

Limpopo education department suspends return of grades 3 and 10 to school

The Limpopo education department has suspended the return of grades 3 and 10 to school from Monday.

"The Limpopo department of education had previously communicated that grades 3 and 10 would be phased back to school on July 20 in accordance with amended directions published in the government gazette No 43510, by the minister of basic education on July 7 2020," the department said in a statement.

The department said, however, it deemed it "preferable", after careful consideration of all key variables in phasing back more pupils, to suspend the return of the two grades to class.

July 20 2020 - 08:54

Deadly virus spreading in Egypt prisons: rights group

At least 14 prisoners have died from likely Covid-19 complications in scantly-monitored outbreaks of the disease at Egyptian detention centres, Human Rights Watch said Monday.

July 20 2020 - 08:23

WATCH | BLF allocates graves to SA leaders, triggering Tshwane metro condemnation

July 20 2020 - 07:45

This is how interprovincial travel will work under level 3 lockdown

Updated Covid-19 directives for interprovincial travel for South Africans returning to work or university have been put in place by transport minister Fikile Mbalula.

The new regulations include the mandatory use of face masks, sanitising of passengers before boarding and landing, keeping windows open by at least 5cm, and a 70% loading capacity.

The regulations come into effect immediately, and a violation of the rules would be classified as a criminal offence, Mbalula said.

July 20 2020 - 07:00

Africa’s first Covid-19 faecal findings are nothing to be poo-pooed

KZN scientists say they can detect Covid-19 in sewage.

It's groundbreaking research that could ease transmission and identify hot spots​.

July 20 2020 - 06:06

Uphill battle to get more SA wines to export market in lockdown: Wosa

The ban on the sale of wines locally has pushed more companies to seek to sell their wines overseas, but the continuing ban on overseas travel has made it more difficult to introduce more SA wines to overseas markets.

July 20 2020 - 06:00

Wine producer's evaporating income as lockdown ban continues to bite

“The ban on the sale of wine affects my total trading ability. It negates me as a business.”

These are the words of Schalk Burger Snr, owner of the Welbedacht Wine Estate in Wellington in the Western Cape.

July 20 2020 - 06:00

An elastic band to a gun fight: why Covid-19 isn’t going anywhere

A vaccine is far off and our rulers are hapless.

So we can rely only on ourselves to survive the pandemic.