COVID-19 WRAP | Four months of lockdown: one shock graphic shows SA's dramatic Covid-19 surge

27 July 2020 - 07:35 By TimesLIVE
Smokers and Bikers gather on Cape T​own parade protesting against the government's ban on cigarette sales, farm killings, lockdown and curfew regulations on July 25 2020.
Smokers and Bikers gather on Cape T​own parade protesting against the government's ban on cigarette sales, farm killings, lockdown and curfew regulations on July 25 2020.

July 27 2020 - 22:17

Nearly 300 new deaths recorded as SA reports lowest daily rise in cases since end of June

South Africa has recorded its lowest daily number of new Covid-19 infections in nearly a month, with the health ministry announcing 7,120 cases on Monday night.

This is the lowest number of new cases in a 24-hour period since June 30, when 6,945 new infections were confirmed. The last time SA recorded fewer than 8,700 new cases was on July 1, when 8,124 infections were reported.

However, the figures are based on a lower-than-usual number of tests: 28,433 tests in the 24-hour period under assessment. There have been 2,802,211 tests completed to date.

July 27 2020 - 20:39

IMF to give SA R70.6bn 'emergency' loan

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to a nearly R70.6bn loan to South Africa.

In a statement on Monday night, the National Treasury announced that the IMF's board had approved the government's request for "emergency financial support" to the tune of $4.3bn (around R70.58bn at the current exchange rates).

The loan would "help the country mitigate the adverse social and economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic", it said.

July 27 2020 - 18:21

Number blunder: Covid-19 helpline 'inundated' with calls from Vodacom customers

The government's Covid-19 health helpline was "inundated" with calls - not from people seeking medical advice but rather frustrated Vodacom clients trying to contact the mobile operator's call centre. 

The Covid-19 number 111 is also shared by Vodacom, leading to the unintended cross-calling.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) revealed the situation in a gazette on Monday. The document also rectified the situation.

July 27 2020 - 16:30

Two doctors, two nurses in North West die from Covid-19 in the past week

The North West health department has been rocked by the deaths of four medical workers in a single week due to Covid-19.

Two doctors and two nurses have died from the virus, the office of health MEC Madoda Sambatha said on Monday.

“We have sadly learnt of the passing of Dr Lomalisa Litenye and Dr Florah Makama. As if that was not enough, the province lost two nurses over the past week. We are saddened by the loss of these health professionals,” said Sambatha.

July 27 2020 - 15:18

Government and opposition must unite to beat Covid-19: Zulu king

Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini has called for the government and opposition parties to unite against Covid-19. 

The monarch was speaking during a live Facebook broadcast to mark his 72nd birthday on Monday. He had planned to commemorate the day at the eMachobeni royal palace in Ngwavuma, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, but was forced to make other plans because of lockdown restrictions. 

“I pray for the leaders of this nation and opposition parties to see the need for unity ... We need to agree that if we don’t see eye to eye, we must put our differences aside and deal with them after we beat Covid-19. We need to by all means fight this virus,” said the king. 

July 27 2020 - 15:05

Four months of lockdown: one shock graphic shows SA's dramatic Covid-19 surge

There are now 445,433 Covid-19 cases and 6,769 deaths in SA as the country marks four months since it went into lockdown on March 27 in an effort to flatten the curve of the coronavirus.

The lockdown measures were implemented three weeks after the country's first Covid-19 case was confirmed on March 5.

Worldwide engineering recently shared a data visualisation of how SA has managed its fight against Covid-19  since April. It paints a shocking picture of how the country has been thrust from being among the least affected countries globally to one of the most affected countries alongside the US, Brazil, India and Russia.

July 27 2020 - 14:51

South Africans feeling anger and sense of alienation from government under lockdown

These are miserable times for South Africans as the Covid-19 infection rate accelerates and the affect on our economy grows.

I am also concerned that South Africans are increasingly feeling government is not on their side. As people become more desperate, dangerous confrontations are a serious risk.

There is palpable anger among us all. Some of it is inevitable as the disease tears its way through our society and economy. However, there is a sense that government is too easily bent by powerful lobbies rather than acting in the best interest of all of us.

The scenes of police using water cannons against protesting restaurant workers in Cape Town last week were shocking. People have a right to protest. Government has destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of hospitality workers through restrictions that make it impossible for restaurants to operate.

July 27 2020 - 14:17

Survey finds that as Covid-19 cases surge, support for governments falling

The world has set a new record for the highest daily increase in coronavirus infections, as a survey released Saturday showed governments are fast losing support for their handling of the pandemic.

There were more than 280,000 new cases recorded globally on both Thursday and Friday, the highest daily rises since the virus emerged in China late last year.

Friday's tally of 282,042 was marginally down on Thursday's single-day record 284,661, according to an AFP count based on official sources, but still marks an alarming uptick in the spread of the virus.

Nearly a third of the world's 15.8 million infections have been registered since July 1, while the total death toll nears 640,000.

July 27 2020 - 14:16

Here's how obesity increases the risk of severe Covid-19

Evidence emerging around the world suggests that people who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of getting more severely ill with Covid-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus.

Scientists are still learning about which specific mechanisms might explain this link.

July 27 2020 - 14:00

Lack of oxygen 'critical situation' for fight against Covid-19 in Eastern Cape

If the Eastern Cape is to weather the coronavirus  storm and save as many lives as possible while the province battles the  peak of the pandemic, ambulances will play an even more crucial role and will have to be amply supplied with oxygen to treat and transport patients, especially in rural areas.

That is the proposal by former health MEC Dr Bevan Goqwana, who is acting as a consultant to the provincial health department in its fight against Covid-19.

July 27 2020 - 13:50

SA's events industry to turn cities 'red' to highlight Covid-19 financial struggle

SA's office blocks and iconic buildings will be illuminated in red on August 5 to highlight the crisis the events industry is facing because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has been five months since those employed in the industry have been able to earn a living after the government closed entertainment spots and cancel major events to contain the spread of the virus.

The #LightSARed campaign has been launched because the industry fears it may not survive the next 100 days.

July 27 2020 - 13:47

KZN premier tells citizens 'the Covid-19 storm is here'

KwaZulu-Natal is in the midst of weathering the Covid-19 storm, as confirmed by a drastic increase in positive cases over the past week.

Addressing the media on Sunday, premier Sihle Zikalala said the picture had dramatically changed.

“We have now arrived at a point where almost everyone knows somebody who has been infected with Covid-19. It is no longer a disease from the distance. It is here at home. It is now our friends, colleagues, neighbours, brothers, mothers and sisters who have confirmed they have tested positive. The storm is here, and can be seen through the unprecedented number of infections.”

July 27 2020 - 13:45

UK tells people: eat less to reduce Covid-19 death risk

British people should eat less to lose weight as being obese increases the risk of dying from the novel coronavirus, junior health minister Helen Whately said on Monday.

Whately said that those with a body mass index of over 40 had double the risk of dying from Covid-19.

July 27 2020 - 13:34

Hong Kong to ban all restaurant dining, mandate masks outdoors- media

Hong Kong on Monday will announce further restrictions to curb the surge in coronavirus cases, including a total ban on restaurant dining and mandated facemasks outdoors, media reported. The new rules will take effect from Wednesday, local television channels Cable TV and Now TV said, as authorities warned it was a critical period to contain the virus.

This will be the first time the city has completely banned dining in restaurants. Since late January, more than 2,600 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 19 of whom have died.

July 27 2020 - 09:17

Circular hints at 'possible' phased-in return for pupils in Gauteng

The Gauteng education department is planning to “possibly” phase-in pupils from seven different grades when schools reopen on August 24 after the month-long break.

According to a circular to schools dated July 25 and signed by Gauteng education department superintendent-general Edward Mosuwe, grades 3, 6, 10 and 11 were expected to return on August 24. New grades tentatively pencilled in for the same date include grades 4, 5 and 9.

On August 31, pupils grades 1, 2 and 8 are set to return to class.

The circular makes no mention of the return date for Grade R pupils.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last Thursday that all state schools would close until August 24, except for matric and grade 7 pupils. Matrics were given a one-week break and grade 7s will be out of school for two weeks.

July 27 2020 - 09:14

DJ Euphonik on performing in Europe post Covid-19

A lot of artists would kill to be in DJ Euphonik aka Themba's shoes right now, as the DJ salvages 2020 with an impressive international line-up of gigs and he's super grateful to be able to do what he loves most.

Mzansi went through major groove withdrawal as they watched DJ Black Coffee play a set for a live crowd on the Greek island of Mykonos earlier this week. Black Coffee flew out of SA with Euphonik who couldn't wait to show off chilling on the beach, giving his fans a glimpse of what life after corona may be like.

Speaking to TshisaLIVE, Nkosi painted a picture of the vibe of his recent international gig in which he shared the stage with Black Coffee and Italian DJ Angelo.

July 27 2020 - 09:12

Funeral infringements and booze sales clampdown in Gauteng with 600 busts

More than 600 suspects were arrested in Gauteng over the weekend for contravention of Covid-19 disaster management regulations and other offences.

On Saturday, a 32-year old man was arrested in Kwa Thema, Ekurhuleni, for discharging a firearm in a municipal area after he allegedly fired shots during a funeral procession. Police seized the suspect's firearm, which will be subjected to ballistic testing to establish possible links to previous crimes.

July 27 2020 - 08:44

Government's Covid-19 scientists are in the pockets of white monopoly capital, says Malema

EFF leader Julius Malema on Sunday criticised the scientists advising the government on Covid-19, saying the lockdown regulations amounted to homicide.

The easing of restrictions was a problem, said Malema, adding that Covid-19 cases had increased sharply and deaths had followed as a result of “homicidal decisions” to open mines, businesses, restaurants, casinos and schools.

July 27 2020 - 08:42

A 'tender is not a blank cheque': Tito Mboweni warns 'game over'

Finance minister Tito Mboweni has taken a swipe at individuals involved in irregular tender processes during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“A tender is an ethical contract. It is not a blank cheque to deceive and steal. And stealing from unwell people during a Covid-19 pandemic, what kind of people are these criminals?,” Mboweni wrote on his Twitter timeline on Sunday night.

July 27 2020 - 08:40

Kids suffer months of ‘agony’ after school meals cut off

When level-5 lockdown hit and schools closed, the national school feeding scheme vanished.

We speak to some of the families whose lifeline was severed four months ago.

July 27 2020 - 08:17

Bandile Masuku says allegations that he was involved in Covid-19 tender malpractice are false 

"As the member of the executive council, I am not involved in nor do I influence the department's procurement process."

July 27 2020 - 07:29

Ramaphosa confident SA has 'ingredients for economic recovery' as virus wreaks havoc

"This is not the time to despair but to act. It is untenable, and unacceptable, to live with an unemployment rate of 30 percent, which will soon increase. It is also impossible to build an economy built on inequality."