COVID-19 WRAP | DA KZN wants special transport for frontline workers

24 July 2020 - 07:10 By TimesLIVE
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“The government keeps saying scientists are the ones making these decisions and that is part of our frustration ... It would be good to know who these scientists are and what their reasoning is, so we can interrogate it and understand the reasoning. This whole process has been incredibly mysterious.”
“The government keeps saying scientists are the ones making these decisions and that is part of our frustration ... It would be good to know who these scientists are and what their reasoning is, so we can interrogate it and understand the reasoning. This whole process has been incredibly mysterious.”
Image: Pixabay/MichalJarmoluk

July 24 2020 - 20:55

Gauteng moves beyond 150,000 Covid-19 cases as SA's total climbs to 421,996

Gauteng on Friday became the first province to confirm more than 150,000 Covid-19 cases, as the SA total climbed by 13,944.

This means that there are now 421,996 total infections across the country, the health ministry said in a statement.

The ministry also confirmed that there were 250 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours, taking the national total to 6,343.

July 24 2020 - 20:41

Covid-19 forces Catholic newspaper to close just 3 months shy of 100th birthday

The economic shock of Covid-19 has forced yet another community newspaper to close down.

SA’s catholic weekly newspaper, The Southern Cross, will be retrenching all its staff at the end of the July, and explore the possibility of going digital, just three months shy of its 100th birthday.

“Like so many other businesses and institutions, the coronavirus crisis and the resultant crashing economy have wrought havoc with our capacity to continue operation as before.

July 24 2020 - 17:42

Matric pupil faces expulsion after assaulting teacher over Covid-19 closure

A pupil assaulted a teacher in full view of schoolmates at Motswedi Secondary School in the North West, the education department said on Friday.

The teacher was assaulted by a grade 12 pupil, who did not take kindly to the announcement of a confirmed Covid-19 case at the school.

“They were told the school would be closed due to a Covid-19 case from one of the learners. The learners became unhappy with the announcement and started raising their voices and insulted the educators. One of the learners was seen wrestling with the teacher and headbutted him whilst others were continuing with insults,” said spokesperson Elias Malindi.

July 24 2020 - 17:19

GBV, farm murders, political killings plague SA: Cele revises budget

Police minister Bheki Cele has allocated R57bn towards visible policing from the ministry's R105.5bn budget for 2020/21.

His other priorities are administration services, which were allocated R20bn, and detective services, which received R20bn.

Cele presented his adjusted budget to parliament on Friday. He said gender-based violence (GBV), political killings and farm murders were some of the most stubborn crimes plaguing the country.

July 24 2020 - 17:01

'A nightmare': how the coronavirus is upsetting SA funeral rites

Undertakers clad in canary yellow protective suits lowered the coffin into the cold soil as a mechanical digger waited nearby to smother the grave.

Still numbed by their loss, a family watched the desolate spectacle from metres away. They were barred from tossing a handful of soil or a flower into the grave, and could not even huddle together.

Modise Motlhabane was still in his early 40s when he became one of SA's mounting coronavirus fatalities. The ceremony to bid him farewell at Johannesburg's Westpark cemetery lasted less than 30 minutes: these days, funerals are fast-tracked.


July 24 2020 - 16:56

KZN businessman's account frozen for pocketing almost R700k in UIF money

A number of bank accounts linked to a KwaZulu-Natal man, who allegedly defrauded the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) of almost R700,000, have been frozen by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). 

NPA national spokesman Sipho Ngwema said on Friday that bank accounts linked to Durban businessman Thokozani Mchunu were frozen following suspicions that he fraudulently received funds from the UIF.

July 24 2020 - 16:42

Closing public schools will widen inequality gaps, say experts

The government’s decision to halt public schooling for a month while allowing private schools to stay open will see the inequality gap widen, an expert has said.

The children of parents with financial means, who would typically attend urban private schools, would not lose out, but underprivileged children and those at rural schools would suffer.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday night that all public schools must close for a month, from July 27 to August 24. Matric pupils would get one week off, and grade 7s would be out of school for two weeks.

July 24 2020 - 16:15

DA KZN wants special transport for frontline workers

The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has called on the department of health and transport to adopt a transport service to ferry nurses and other essential health-care staff between their workplaces and homes.

KwaZulu-Natal DA spokesperson on health, Rishigen Viranna, suggested that health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu and transport MEC Bheki Ntuli urgently negotiate the start of a provincial "Red Dot Taxi" chartered transport service as part of the fight against Covid-19.

The programme, which was first launched in the Western Cape, is an initiative between the minibus taxi industry and the provincial transport department to provide transport for frontline workers. 

July 24 2020 - 15:43

Driven to divorce! Homework, cash problems, booze and ciggie bans leave SA couples frayed

Couples are seeking counselling or starting divorce proceedings after being “forced to confront the true essence of their relationship” while being cooped up at home during the coronavirus lockdown.

Irene Motaung, social worker, family and divorce mediator at The Family Life Centre told TimesLIVE that their online platforms had been useful to reach couples with internet access who needed help during the initial stages of the lockdown.

“When most couples were forced to work from home, they had to also learn to navigate the children’s schooling at home which was not planned for. Some couples found the circumstances a little too much to bear and manage,” said Motaung.

July 24 2020 - 14:50

WATCH | Police accused of 'absurd' use of water canon, stun grenades to quell hospitality industry protest

Restaurateurs, coffee shops, an internet cafe, and DA shadow minister for transport Manny de Freitas were drenched by a police water cannon during a hospitality industry protest outside parliament on Friday.

DA parliamentary chief whip Natasha Mazzone said colleague De Freitas was blasted off his feet by a police water cannon used to disperse the “peaceful protest” along with stun grenades.

As riot police dispersed protesters down Buitenkant Street the water cannon sprayed blasts into the popular Truth Coffee shop, an internet cafe and at guests dining at the Swan Café, according to Mazzone.

July 24 2020 - 14:33

COVID-19 | 'Closing your own business is like a death'

Creative director Warren le Grange has taken payment holidays on his car and home to stick to his promise to pay his staff for another three months.

Hard-hit by the financial implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, he had to retrench his entire staff complement, and is considering having himself declared bankrupt.

Le Grange, 38, founded his Khoi Kreative agency five years ago, with big dreams to shake up the world of live events.

July 24 2020 - 14:21

Blow for smokers as Fita has court setback but tobacco battle continues

The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) says it will petition the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) after a setback in court in its challenge to the tobacco sales ban on Friday.

Fita was seeking leave to appeal against a Pretoria high court ruling that dismissed its challenge to the ban on the sale of tobacco products. But a full bench of the high court dismissed the appeal.

“We were prepared for any eventuality in respect of judgment in this matter and we will be petitioning the Supreme Court of Appeal for the appropriate relief,” said Fita CEO Sinenhlanhla Mnguni.

July 24 2020 - 13:47

Spotlight on Eastern Cape health system: unreported deaths, lack of PPE & staff shortages

Nurses reusing gowns. Patients waiting for weeks to have caesarean sections. What is the real Covid-19 death toll?

The Eastern Cape health system has came under increasing pressure as more shock stories about conditions in the province are revealed.

July 24 2020 - 12:19

Pupils 'psychologically and emotionally stressed' by Covid-19

Basic education department director-general Matanzima Mweli said on Friday that public schools are being temporarily closed because of rocketing coronavirus infections and pupils being psychologically and emotionally stressed by the pandemic.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday evening announced the closure of public schools for four weeks.

July 24 2020 - 11:36

WHO scientist sees regulators cooperating to speed Covid-19 vaccine approval

Regulators that normally work within their own countries or regions will likely harmonize efforts on potential Covid-19 vaccines to speed up their approvals once they become available, WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Friday.

Swaminathan, answering questions on social media platforms, also said testing vaccines for safety and efficacy - usually a years-long process - could be accelerated to just six months in the midst of the pandemic, if data satisfied regulators that they have enough information to issue approvals.

July 24 2020 - 11:21

Covid-19 hits East Rand hard as poverty spreads under lockdown

Wayne Morgan, a plumber and electrician from Roodepoort, is a recent arrival at Angel Wings, a shelter in Benoni on Gauteng’s East Rand.

He has lived at the shelter for two months. He lost his job when the company he worked for shut its doors at the start of lockdown. He stayed with family and in other shelters before finding Angel Wings. He hasn’t been able to get any more work.

Morgan said he appreciated the refuge the shelter offered and was grateful that people didn’t steal his property. When he was on the street, he had lost half of his possessions through theft.

He said he was grateful “to have the basics for now”.

July 24 2020 - 10:41

IN QUOTES | 'Time waits for no man', says Zweli Mkhize on adjusting health budget to R58.4bn

“Covid-19 has taught us that time waits for no man. If we are to achieve our infrastructure goals, we need to do so and move with speed.”

July 24 2020 - 09:42

Durban to open public spaces for exercise as Covid-19 infections soar

Durban will open its public spaces for walking, running, cycling and yoga from Monday, under strict Covid-19 conditions.

The city's parks, recreation and culture department announced on Friday that residents would have access to parks, botanical gardens, nature reserves and sports grounds strictly for exercise purposes and not for social gatherings.

The department's deputy head Sibusiso Mkhwanazi said the municipality “is mindful of the increasing number of Covid-19 infections, thus will ensure that strict precautions are implemented as people use the facilities”.

July 24 2020 - 09:27

Covid-19 district model to 'correct' inequalities in SA? What you need to know

The government is set to roll out a new Covid-19 district development model system to “correct” social and economic inequalities in all districts in SA. 

This is according to co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who said the Covid-19 pandemic brought a “gaping reality to the fore”.

Dlamini-Zuma said it aims to allow for a more specific shared services model at a district level.

July 24 2020 - 09:25

From education to rooting out corruption - 6 quotes from Cyril Ramaphosa's address

July 24 2020 - 09:17

Vietnam suspends wildlife trade as pandemic prods action

Vietnam, one of Asia's biggest consumers of wildlife products, has suspended all imports of wild animal species "dead or alive" and vowed to "eliminate" illegal markets across the country.

The directive signed by the leader of the Communist country follows an international scandal over the sale of wildlife, which has been blamed as the origin of the coronavirus pandemic in neighbouring China.

July 24 2020 - 09:00

How family of 11 conquered Covid-19 storm confined to Eastern Cape home

As they watched while Covid-19 ravage families across the country, a KwaNobuhle family of 11 feared they would suffer the same fate as one after the other they fell ill, until five of the 11 were diagnosed with the virus.

All 11 were quarantined in the same home, splitting themselves into two groups — the healthy and the sick.

July 24 2020 - 08:57

US records over 76,000 new virus cases in 24 hours: Johns Hopkins

The United States on Thursday recorded 76,570 new coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours, Johns Hopkins University reported, after the nation's total number of infections topped four million earlier in the day.

July 24 2020 - 08:22

Mixed reaction to latest efforts to curb spread of Covid-19

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says the decision by the government to close schools is “regrettable and unjustifiable”.

“The decision means that by August 24 2020 over 10 million South African children, depending on the grade they are in, will have lost over 50% or 100 scheduled school days as a result of Covid-19 school closures,” the commission said in a statement.

July 24 2020 - 08:21

Brazil study finds no hydroxychloroquine benefit for Covid-19

A study published Thursday on the use of hydroxychloroquine in Brazil to treat Covid-19 found the drug ineffective, the latest blow to President Jair Bolsonaro's push for its widespread use.

July 24 2020 - 07:17

US man arrested for pulling gun when asked to wear face mask at Walmart store

A man was arrested for pointing a gun at a fellow shopper who asked him to wear a face mask because of the coronavirus pandemic at a Walmart store in Florida, police in the US state said.

July 24 2020 - 06:30

Been told to 'be grateful' to have a job during the pandemic? Read on

Employees told to “be grateful” they still have a job during the coronavirus pandemic say they are experiencing high levels of stress, loss of morale and confidence in their future.

Job losses, pay cuts, the ability to provide for families, the economy, food security, and schooling — these are top stress factors for most people as they navigate the changing workplace dynamics.

July 24 2020 - 06:00

Experts red-flag absence of vital death stats as SA peak hits

Scientists have been wondering why SA’s case fatality rates for Covid-19 are lower than those of its global counterparts.

Now a major question is being asked: are our mortality statistics even accurate?

July 24 2020 - 06:00

Man bust with cigarettes during lockdown insists he did nothing wrong

When Andries Hennop, 42, from Krugersdorp, was driving home on Friday May 22, he did not expect to spend a few hours behind bars for having cigarettes in his car.

July 24 2020 - 05:30

Top scientist slams 'irrational' lockdown regulations

'Government keeps saying scientists are the ones making these decisions and that is part of our frustration' - Prof Francois Venter

July 24 2020 - 05:00

Eastern Cape horror: delayed figures, hospitals under siege & surge in Covid-19 cases

Poor standards of hygiene, shortages of staff and a surge in Covid-19 cases in the Eastern Cape sparked concerns among the public and opposition parties who called for the provincial health department to be put under administration.

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