COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | Covid-19 death estimate rises to 17,000 — four times the official number

22 July 2020 - 07:21 By TimesLIVE
Norwood, Johannesburg. The restaurant industry called for one million seats placed on the streets around South Africa to protest lockdown regulations on July 22 2020.
Norwood, Johannesburg. The restaurant industry called for one million seats placed on the streets around South Africa to protest lockdown regulations on July 22 2020.
Image: Alon Skuy

July 22 2020 - 19:33

Cabinet to be advised to close schools for three weeks, sources say

The national coronavirus command council (NCCC) will recommend to the cabinet that schools close for three weeks.

This was confirmed by impeccable sources within the teacher unions that attended a meeting chaired by deputy minister of basic education Reginah Mhaule on Wednesday night.

The council will table the recommendation with the cabinet on Thursday, and either basic education minister Angie Motshekga or President Cyril Ramaphosa will thereafter announce the cabinet’s decision.

July 22 2020 - 19:33

'I'm not stubborn': Angie Motshekga amid criticism from MPs

The debate about the government's decision to reopen schools during a pandemic dominated discussions on Wednesday at a parliamentary debate on the department of basic education’s adjusted budget, as the sector waits to hear the cabinet’s decision on the matter.

Opposition parties slammed the basic education department’s decision to reopen schools without the adequate basic infrastructure in place to contain the spread of Covid-19.

MPs also questioned the government’s decision to allow for taxis to operate at full capacity when they which are widely used by both learners and teachers.

July 22 2020 - 18:46

Vehicle or driving licence expired in lockdown? Now it's valid until 2021

Has your driving or vehicle licence expired? Don't worry, you now have until next year to get it renewed.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has gazetted an amendment to the lockdown regulations to allow road users until next year to renew their expired licences.

The gazette, released on Wednesday, states that licence cards expiring as of March 26 will be valid until January 2021.

July 22 2020 - 18:38

Covid-19 death estimate rises to 17,000 — four times the official number

The number of excess deaths from natural causes has risen to 17,090, according to SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) analysts.

The toll is for the period May 6-July 14, when the official Covid-19 death toll was 4,346.

This means the pandemic has probably claimed four times more lives in SA — directly or indirectly — than health department statistics indicate.

July 22 2020 - 18:19

Opposition parties slam higher education Covid-19 budget cuts

Opposition parties have slammed the government's Covid-19 induced multibillion-rand cuts from the higher education and training department's budget.

Presenting the department's budget vote in parliament on Wednesday, minister Blade Nzimande outlined cuts which will affect his department.

The cuts will not only affect universities and TVET (technical and vocational education and training) colleges. They will also affect on-the-job training through reductions of funding for Setas (sector education and training authorities).

July 22 2020 - 18:13

Joburg hits 60,000 Covid-19 infections

The number of people infected with Covid-19 in Gauteng is now 139,435, of which 60,424 are in Johannesburg.

This is according to health department statistics released on Wednesday. Spokesperson Kwara Kekana said the province had recorded 1,042 fatalities and 73,879 recoveries.

A total of 56,397 contacts were traced after coming into contact with those diagnosed with the virus - of them, 40,467 people have completed the 14-day monitoring period with no symptoms and have been de-isolated.

July 22 2020 - 18:09

IN PICTURES | Restaurants are limping, says industry as it hits the streets in protest

The restaurant industry took to the streets on Wednesday to compel the government to allow alcohol sales for licensed sit-down restaurants.

The industry also wants government to push the curfew back from 9pm to 10pm, and to resolve delays in UIF and TERS payouts.

For several weeks, the industry has been at loggerheads with government, particularly over the banning of alcohol, which forms a crucial part of their revenue.

July 22 2020 - 16:33

'We're sworn to secrecy': talks on SA school closures for Covid-19 peak

While there is speculation that the government may close schools for two weeks, President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to make an announcement on Thursday on the matter.

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga met with governing body associations, a principals’ association and other stakeholders at midday on Wednesday.

She will meet the five teacher unions on Wednesday night.

July 22 2020 - 16:07

DA MP irks Dlamini-Zuma with claim she's focused only on 'zol and alcohol'

Co-operative governance & traditional affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma did not take kindly to accusations by a DA MP that her focus in the fight against Covid-19 has been on “zol and alcohol”.

“Honourable Hoosen, I used to have great respect for you as an honourable member, but today I've lost that respect,” she said on Wednesday addressing the criticism.

While she initially did not want “to dignify” the criticism with a response, she reiterated that the government was trying to balance saving lives and livelihoods.

July 22 2020 - 15:21

WATCH | 'The virus kills but hunger kills too': Restaurant protest disrupts Cape Town CBD

“I pay for my UCT studies by waitering,” said Bukasa Mukuna, a waiter in Cape Town's CBD.

“There are 147 people working here. That's not just 147 people but 147 families that are at risk, so without the work we are dead.

“I know the virus is killing people — but hunger kills people too.”

July 22 2020 - 14:34

Police seize fake Covid kits in international trafficking crackdown

Police have seized 17,000 fake Covid-19 testing kits discovered in raids against illicit food and drink products across dozens of countries, Interpol said Wednesday.

July 22 2020 - 12:07

Zimbabwe introduces curfew as coronavirus infections spike

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday imposed a curfew and reinstated strict measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus following a spike in cases in recent weeks.

The number of cases recorded in the southern African country, whose health system has been tottering from years of neglect, rose by nearly a third over the past week to a total 1,713 cases.

The number of deaths climbed from 18 to 26.

July 22 2020 - 11:14

'We will be over the worst by October/November': Prof Salim Abdool Karim on Covid-19 infections

The surge in Covid-19 infections could slow down around October.

This is according to the chair of the Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee, Prof Salim Abdool Karim. 

July 22 2020 - 10:23

Alan Winde on 93-year-old woman who recovered from Covid-19 - 'she is one of the oldest survivors'

Western Cape premier Alan Winde has shared the inspirational story of 93-year-old Katherine Dorothy Newman, who survived Covid-19 after becoming one of the first people to get infected when coronavirus hit SA in March.

The premier said she is one of the oldest survivors of the disease in the province.

July 22 2020 - 09:27

Zuliswa 'danced her way out' after 77 tough days in hospital with Covid-19

Zuliswa Maqana danced on her way out of Groote Schuur Hospital after spending 77 days being treated for Covid-19 — at times barely able to talk or walk.

The 48-year-old mother is one of the longest hospitalised Covid-19 patients across the provincial public health service in the Western Cape.

The recovery period for people with “mild” bouts of Covid-19 can last between 10 and 14 days. Maqana’s journey to recovery was akin to running a marathon.

“It was a rocky course through the ICU with complications and other infections along the way,” said Dr Henri Pickardt, general surgeon at the hospital.

July 22 2020 - 08:54

More MPs test positive for Covid-19

More members of parliament (MPs) have tested positive for Covid-19.

“Parliament’s presiding officers have learnt of more MPs who have tested positive for Covid-19,” parliament said in a statement.  

Labour and employment minister Thulas Nxesi, mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe and MP Zamoxolo Peter have been hospitalised due to Covd-19.

July 22 2020 - 08:49

'I have lost half my family to Covid-19'

After losing her boyfriend and stepfather to Covid-19 days apart, a distraught Pietermaritzburg woman scrambled to find money to pay for the funeral for her mother, who died on Tuesday.

"I have lost half my family in three weeks. I am stressed and heartbroken from every side. I have no-one to turn to," Laurisha Beepath told TimesLIVE.

July 22 2020 - 07:00

WATCH | Terribly funny: Local 'Leonardo' turns lockdown boredom into a business

When local Instagram “artist” Leonardo da Convincing first blessed the photo and video-sharing social network with his art at the beginning of April, "LDC" admitted that this was a project induced by the Covid-19 pandemic to try to lift the spirits of South Africans during the lockdown.

July 22 2020 - 07:00

Unions ‘confident’ schools shutdown is a closed deal

The National Teachers Union is confident the cabinet will agree to close schools.​

They had been told their position would be submitted to the cabinet, which “will take a decision on what we put on the table”.