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COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | Education MEC says children are safer at school

21 July 2020 - 07:29 By TimesLIVE

July 21 2020 - 21:14

Cigarette smuggler faces R600,000 fine or five years in jail

A 33-year-old man caught smuggling illicit cigarettes worth over R200,000 in May was found guilty on Tuesday.

Desta Andualem was convicted by the Musina regional court. He was ordered to pay a fine of R600,000 or serve a five-year sentence, according to Limpopo police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo.

Andualem was nabbed during a Covid-19 police operation along the N1.

July 21 2020 - 20:08

Food security, land reform hit by Covid-19 budget cuts: Didiza

The department of agriculture, land reform and rural development has had over R2bn cut from its budget due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

And the cuts may well hit the government's food security programmes across the country hard.

This was revealed in parliament on Tuesday when minister Thoko Didiza delivered her budget vote during a mini-plenary session of the National Assembly, following the supplementary budget delivered by finance minister Tito Mboweni last month.

July 21 2020 - 17:55

Hijackers make off with Covid-19 tests in Port Elizabeth

A courier truck ferrying test samples for the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) was hijacked in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane has confirmed.

Mabuyane used his weekly media briefing on Tuesday to condemn criminal activity he said happened on Monday afternoon.

“Yesterday we received reports that a courier vehicle transporting Covid-19 specimens for the NHLS was hijacked in Port Elizabeth and criminals who did this took a white container with the specimens,” he said.

July 21 2020 - 17:27

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park temporarily closed as employee tests positive for Covid-19

The Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park has been temporarily closed after a staff member tested positive for Covid-19.

On Tuesday Ezemvelo KZN wildlife said the park would be closed to the public from Wednesday.

The game reserve, which is the oldest nature reserve in Africa, will reopen on August 1.

July 21 2020 - 17:22

Western Cape's Debbie Schäfer: kids are safer at school so let them learn

Covid-19 infections among school staff in the Western Cape are dropping, education MEC Debbie Schäfer said on Tuesday.

Schäfer said schools did not pose a higher risk for infection than any other places, and pleaded that they should not be closed again, saying this would be detrimental to the school year and the economy.

Five teacher unions have demanded that schools be closed until the end of August, when it is estimated SA will have reached its peak infection rate.

July 21 2020 - 17:07

R30m spent irregularly in dodgy KZN tenders for blankets and PPE: premier

Investigations into the awarding of two tenders to supply blankets for the homeless and personal protective equipment (PPE) have uncovered irregularities by the KwaZulu-Natal government of nearly R30m.

And it has emerged that more than 43,018 blankets procured by the provincial department of social development as part of the Covid-19 relief sit in storage and have not been delivered to those in need.  

July 21 2020 - 16:47

Fewer people being treated in Gauteng hospitals for Covid-19 since last week

The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 in Gauteng has decreased by more than 50% since last week, the health department said on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Kwara Kekana said 2,487 people were being treated at public and private facilities across the province. This was down by 3,089 admissions since last Wednesday, when the department said 5,576 people were being treated for Covid-19.

This comes as the number of cumulative cases and fatalities continues to rise. The province has now recorded 136,879 cases and 999 deaths.

July 21 2020 - 16:06

Nigeria's foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama tests positive for Covid-19

Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said on Sunday he had tested positive for Covid-19, the first member of President Muhammadu Buhari's cabinet to contract the new coronavirus.

Onyeama, 64, said in a tweet he had taken a Covid-19 test because of a throat irritation.

July 21 2020 - 16:02

Bouquets of flowers lift spirits of nurses working on Covid-19 front line

Health-care workers at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg were honoured on Tuesday for their bravery and service during the coronavirus pandemic in Gauteng.

They emerged from the hospital to be greeted by 250 potted bouquets of Cyclamen flowers - spelling out the word "heroes". 

Staff working on the front line against the virus said they appreciated the gesture from two NPOs, Ubuntu Beds and Together We Bloom.

July 21 2020 - 15:29

Cape Malay Choir board president Shafiek April dies of Covid-19 complications

Long-serving Cape Malay Choir board president Shafiek April has succumbed to Covid-19 complications.

April, who celebrated his 82nd birthday on April 18, passed away at Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital on Monday. He was buried in accordance with Muslim rites in Cape Town on Tuesday.

April was a renowned administrator who was at the helm of the Cape Malay Choir board for 31 years. He joined the board as its secretary and was elected president in 1989. Before joining the board, he was the secretary of the Western Cape Rugby Union.

July 21 2020 - 15:11

Covid-19 UIF-Ters benefits extended until August 15

The department of employment and labour has extended the Covid-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) benefit until August 15.

This was confirmed by deputy minister Boitumelo Moloi during a virtual presentation of the employment and labour department budget vote on Tuesday.

Last month, the department indicated the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) would pay workers their relief payments under the Covid-19 Ters scheme until the end of June. The payments were intended as a stopgap for three months, until such time that the lockdown restrictions were eased and the economy slowly reopened.

July 21 2020 - 15:02

China requires negative Covid-19 tests for arriving air passengers

Passengers of China-bound flights must provide negative Covid-19 test results before boarding, China's aviation authority said on Tuesday, as the government looks to further reduce the risk of imported coronavirus cases amid increased international travel.

Nucleic acid tests must be completed within five days of embarkation, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on its website. Tests should be conducted at facilities designated or recognised by Chinese embassies in host countries, it said.

The embassies will carefully assess the testing capacity of host countries and formulate travel procedures when testing conditions are met, CAAC said.

July 21 2020 - 14:50

Trump backs face masks as EU agrees huge virus aid plan

President Donald Trump changed his tune in favour of face masks as a tool to combat the coronavirus in the United States, as European leaders on Tuesday agreed on a massive aid package for their pandemic-ravaged economies.

Despite rising hopes for two vaccine candidates, there are few options available to combat the spread of Covid-19, though they do include face masks - which Trump and his political allies refused to encourage for months.

But he changed direction on Monday, tweeting a photo of himself wearing a mask with the message: "We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can't socially distance."

"There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!"

July 21 2020 - 14:32

Possible but not certain Covid-19 vaccine rolled out this year - Oxford developer

The University of Oxford's possible Covid-19 vaccine could be rolled out by the end of the year but there is no certainty that will happen, the lead developer of the vaccine said on Tuesday.

July 21 2020 - 13:20

Unions 'confident' schools will be closed after cabinet meets on Covid-19 risks

The National Teachers Union (Natu) is confident that the cabinet will agree to close schools when it meets soon.

Natu and four other teacher unions met deputy basic education minister Reginah Mhaule for the second consecutive night on Monday following the unions’ proposal that schools close until the end of next month, after Covid-19 infections have peaked.

July 21 2020 - 12:48

Six ANC MPs test positive for Covid-19

At least six ANC MPs and 18 parliamentary officials have tested positive for Covid-19 as the country begins a climb to its peak of the virus outbreak.

ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina on Tuesday wished a speedy recovery to members of her caucus, including two cabinet members who have been admitted to hospital, minister of labour Thulas Nxesi and minister of energy and mineral resources Gwede Mantashe.

July 21 2020 - 12:31

Let restaurants outside 'alcohol-related trauma hotspots' sell booze, Rasa suggests

The restaurant industry is pleading with the presidency to allow restaurants operating “beyond alcohol-related trauma hotspots” to sell alcohol to customers, provided they order a main meal.

July 21 2020 - 12:11

'KZN is taking over': Zweli Mkhize on the province becoming SA's Covid-19 'epicentre'

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has warned that KwaZulu-Natal could be the next Covid-19 epicentre as the province's surge in infections continues.

The province, which was the first to report a Covid-19 case - in March - is expected to “take over” from Gauteng, said Mkhize, who was speaking during his visit to the Nasrec field hospital in Johannesburg on Monday to assess Gauteng’s readiness for the Covid-19 surge.

July 21 2020 - 11:44

Durban doctor warns about Covid-19 reinfection after patients test positive 'more than once'

A Durban doctor has sounded the alarm about possible Covid-19 reinfection after dealing with patients who tested positive for the coronavirus more than once.

Dr Yuvan Maharaj, who is based in Prospecton, in the south of the city, told TimesLIVE on Tuesday: "There are a few cases where patients tested positive, recovered and then became infected again.

"One patient tested positive twice in three months. These could be early reinfection cases in SA."

July 21 2020 - 10:21

Thulas Nxesi, 61, hospitalised with Covid-19

Employment and labour minister Thembelani “Thulas” Nxesi has been admitted to hospital due to Covid-19.

Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said on Tuesday the minister tested positive for the coronavirus almost a week ago and had been in self-quarantine at home.

July 21 2020 - 10:08

What you need to know about the BLF's petition to Ramaphosa

Black First Land First (BLF) has launched a petition demanding that the government close graves and prioritise saving lives as Covid-19 cases continue to surge in SA.

BLF deputy Zanele Lwana told TimesLIVE on Monday that the petition will be presented to President Cyril Ramaphosa when it has received enough public backing.

July 21 2020 -09:48

UNHCR protest refugees still hold out for resettlement

Refugees in Cape Town who protested to be resettled in other countries because of xenophobic violence in SA, are now trying to make a home for themselves in camps in Kensington and Bellville.

July 21 2020 -09:14

You may infect someone who can die of Covid: Doctor urges less socialising

“There’s no doubt that this is the biggest challenge we face in the living memory of being in practice for 20 years.”

This is according to Dr David Stead, infectious diseases specialist and head of medicine at the Cecilia Makiwane and Frere hospitals in East London.

July 21 2020 -09:00

Virus won’t leave a lost generation ... but only if state acts fast

The Covid-19 pandemic won’t give rise to a lost generation like the 1976 Soweto uprising did, but it could result in lost schooling.

This is the word from an expert from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

July 21 2020 -09:00

Brazil virus death toll surpasses 80,000

Brazil's coronavirus death toll surpassed 80,000 Monday, according to health ministry figures, as the country hit second-hardest in the world after the United States continued struggling to control the pandemic.Brazil has recently regularly registered 1,000 new deaths a day -- though the figure for Monday was lower, at 632, bringing the overall death toll to 80,120.The South American country of 212 million people has confirmed 2.1 million infections. Experts say under-testing means the real numbers are probably much higher.


July 21 2020 -07:46

Seven police stations temporarily closed to due to Covid-19

At least seven police stations around the country have been temporarily closed for decontamination due to Covid-19.

July 21 2020 -07:04

Doctors confirm big drop in patients at trauma units since booze ban

A week after the ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol was reintroduced under level 3 of the lockdown regulations, the pressure on hospitals beds has decreased.

This was revealed during a discussion on Radio 702 on Monday focusing on the effectiveness of the reintroduced ban and night-time curfew a week ago.

July 21 2020 -06:30

Third 'safe space' for Cape Town's homeless introduced

Substance abuse interventions, strengthening family ties, and job and work readiness are some of the programmes and services which will be offered to street people at Cape Town’s new “safe space”.

The Culemborg expansion site was opened under the FW de Klerk Boulevard freeway bridge earlier this month. It will offer a place for 96 people, according to mayoral committee member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien.

July 21 2020 -07:00

Eastern Cape pupils stay away in droves thanks to parents’ ‘anxiety’

Many of the Eastern Cape's more than 256,000 Grade 3, 6 and 11 pupils did not pitch up for the first day of school on Monday.

The dismal numbers include two schools where not one Grade 3 or 6 pupil arrived, a report reveals. 

July 21 2020 -06:09

These are Covid-19’s six symptom clusters, and here’s how they’ll help SA

One of the most challenging aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic is its unpredictability.

Now, scientists say their work could predict who will need a ventilator.

July 21 2020 -06:00

Two years after landmark silicosis settlement, no-one has been paid

An advocacy group for ex-miners who suffered debilitating lung impairment while working on SA’s mines has expressed concern at the slow progress of the trust that is responsible for compensating affected miners.

On July 10, the Justice for Miners Campaign (J4M), which was formed to lobby for miners and ex-miners that contracted either or both silicosis and tuberculosis while working in SA’s gold mines, published a statement of concern about the current state of operation of the Tshiamiso Trust.

July 21 2020 -00:04

SA records fewer than 10,000 new Covid-19 cases for first time in two weeks

For the first time since July 8, South Africa recorded fewer than 10,000 Covid-19 cases in a 24-hour period.

According to figures released by the health ministry on Monday night, there were 9,304 cases recorded since Monday night. This brings to 373,628 the total number of cases recorded across the country.