COVID-19 WRAP | SA records 2,800 virus cases & 'If we want to see restrictions eased, we must focus on masks ': Mkhize

12 August 2020 - 05:37
A man stands infront of a wall written 'Jobs Save Lives' on the walls of the Spier train station in Stellenbosch to bring awareness to the plight of th​e industry as a result of Covid-19 on August 12 2020.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER/SUNDAY TIMES A man stands infront of a wall written 'Jobs Save Lives' on the walls of the Spier train station in Stellenbosch to bring awareness to the plight of th​e industry as a result of Covid-19 on August 12 2020.

August 12 2020 - 22:02

SA records 2,800 new Covid-19 cases as deaths pass 11,000

South Africa recorded just 2,879 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours - the second day in a row that fewer than 3,000 infections have been confirmed.

August 12 2020 - 18:10

New decline in excess deaths 'hopeful sign that pandemic has peaked': MRC

Excess deaths in SA have fallen for the second successive week, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

The number of excess deaths in the week up to August 4 was 4,673 above the number predicted by historical data, said the report.

The previous week, in which the excess deaths graph headed downwards for the first time in 12 weeks, produced an estimated 5,533 extra mortalities.

August 12 2020 - 16:34

Zikalala pleads with citizens to stop 'irresponsible and reprehensible' behaviour as KZN heads into Covid-19 storm

If there was time for people of KwaZulu-Natal to play their part in curbing the spread of Covid-19, it is now.

These were the words of KZN premier Sihle Zikalala on Wednesday as he expressed concern that the province had overtaken the Western Cape to become SA's second hardest hit region in terms of Covid-19 infections.

Zikalala said KZN has had a total of 100,494 Covid-19 cases, with 42,213 of those still active, 1,523 deaths due to the virus while a total of 56,758 people have recovered.

An Aymara woman drags a bag using a toy car during blockade of routes by supporters of unseated former leftist leader Evo Morales who demand quick presidential elections, postponed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in El Alto, on the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia August 11, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/David Mercado An Aymara woman drags a bag using a toy car during blockade of routes by supporters of unseated former leftist leader Evo Morales who demand quick presidential elections, postponed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in El Alto, on the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia August 11, 2020.

August 12 2020 - 16:33

Experts warn of post-Covid 'cult groups' targeting the desperate

“Cult groups” are likely to emerge once the coronavirus pandemic heads out of SA, as people become “desperate” for solutions to their problems.

This is the warning from psychologists on Wednesday, speaking at a virtual seminar hosted by the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission).

“The pandemic has disrupted people’s lives,” said psychologist Dr Saths Cooper. “In the next three to five months we will see more proliferation of cult groups. We must think post the pandemic era.”

August 12 2020 - 15:51

It's official: Matric exams to run from November 5 until December 15

This year's matric exams will start on November 5 and end on December 15 - and the results will be out on February 23 2021.

This is according to basic education minister Angie Motshekga, who said a decision was taken to merge the matric finals with the traditional midyear exams, which usually take place in May and June.

The decision was taken due to the closure of schools on March 18 this year, which came in the context of the national lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.

August 12 2020 - 14:15

'Enough is enough, lift the ban': wine industry body warns situation is dire

“We are fed up with the situation. The ban has served its purpose and should be lifted immediately.”

Vinpro chairperson Anton Smuts did not mince his words in a statement by the wine industry body on Wednesday, warning that the country’s wine industry, and wine tourism, were in a state of disaster brought on by the coronavirus lockdown.

“Urgent intervention is needed or else one of the oldest agricultural industries in the country will not survive,” said Vinpro MD Rico Basson. “Many wine businesses have already closed down because of the previous and current trade restrictions, and the rest of the industry will simply not survive a continued alcohol ban, leaving tens of thousands of employees without any income, possibilities or hope.”

August 12 2020 - 14:15

SA-born pilot uses cellphone to rescue 100 people stranded in China by Covid-19

With only a cellphone, a limited balance and a contact list, a South African pilot living in Canada was able to help more than 100 South Africans and dozens of Zimbabweans return home.

Tertius Myburgh, a commercial pilot based in New Brunswick, Canada, helped rescue South African and Zimbabwean students stranded in China for months, from the comfort of his home.

According to a CNN report, Myburgh received several messages from students who had failed to return home on the government's first repatriation flights.

August 12 2020 - 12:36

Lockdown level 2: Zweli Mkhize on 'easing restrictions'

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has hinted that South Africans can expect good news this week as his team is preparing to make recommendations to the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) around the easing of lockdown restrictions.

TimesLIVE reported on Wednesday that the Forum of South African Directors-General (Fosad) recommended to the NCCC that SA be moved to lockdown level 2 as early as this week.

According to sources who attended the forum meeting, the recommendation was presented at the NCCC meeting on Tuesday.

August 12 2020 - 12:36

Eastern Cape Covid-19 deaths may be 8,000 — four times official number

As many as 8,000 people may already have died in the Eastern Cape as a result of Covid-19 — almost four times higher than the government’s official numbers.

While official statistics show that more than 2,200 people in the province have succumbed to the coronavirus to date, researchers have shown how the Eastern Cape, along with the rest of SA, exhibited a high “excess mortality” rate in June and July compared to death figures for the same period in 2018 and 2019.

Covid-19 is the only difference now in the country compared to previous years.

August 12 2020 - 11:17

It's back to the beach at KZN tourism hotspot St Lucia

Durban may have banned beachgoers from setting foot on its many beaches, but the north coast tourist town of St Lucia is welcoming visitors on to its shores with open arms.

In a bid to revive tourism, St Lucia, renowned for being a beach, bush and wetland haven, has been encouraging visitors to return to its beaches since the government recently permitted leisure travel. Enticing pictures of bathers enjoying leisure time at the beach have been posted in recent days to the St Lucia Town Facebook page.

“Our beaches are open ... come visit,” stated one post.

August 12 2020 - 10:49

Singapore reports 42 new coronavirus cases, lowest daily count in 4.5 months

Singapore on Wednesday reported 42 new COVID-19 cases, its lowest daily count in about four and a half months.

The city-state went into a lockdown in mid-April after mass outbreaks in cramped migrant worker dormitories pushed its caseload to one of the highest in Asia.

Last week, it said it had cleared infections from all of the dormitories - housing around 300,000 workers - barring some blocks which continue to serve as isolation zones.

Of Wednesday's cases - its lowest tally since March 29 - the majority were among those remaining workers serving quarantine. 


August 12 2020 - 09:13

Social distance takes a pummelling in Eastern Cape grant queue scrums

Queues for the R350 special Covid-19 relief grant become unmanageable at times as people forget social distancing in their scramble to advance in the lines.   

Post offices in the East London CBD, Cambridge, Mdantsane and Southernwood see large numbers of beneficiaries lining up every day to receive the grant.  

Some travel from as far as 30km away.

Zukisa Ngingxana, 35, told DispatchLIVE on Tuesday he travelled from NU3 in Mdantsane to get the grant at the Cambridge post office.

August 12 2020 - 08:50

SA could move to level two this week to save economy from Covid-19 battering

The country could move to level 2 this week if Cabinet accepts a recommendation from directors-general to open more sectors of the economy.

A forum made up of directors-general of national departments (Fosad), met on Sunday where it was resolved to recommend to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), that almost all sectors of the economy be opened except crowded places, but under strict enforcement of social distancing, hand sanitisation and wearing of masks.

If their recommendation is accepted by the NCCC and endorsed by Cabinet, President Cyril Ramaphosa could address the nation before the end of the week to communicate the move to Level 2.

August 12 2020 - 08:00

Working from home makes people significantly more productive: study

A new study has shown that the shift to remote working has led to improved productivity - at least in nearly a third (29%) of the organisations polled.

The study - "Remote Working in South Africa 2020", done by World Wide Worx for Cisco - looked at 400 enterprises. It found that for companies that had already rolled out digital transformation strategies prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the increased productivity increased to 70%.

August 12 2020 - 07:56

German health minister says he's sceptical about Russian Covid-19 vaccine

German Health Minister Jens Spahn on Wednesday said he was sceptical about Russia becoming the first country to grant regulatory approval to a Covid-19 vaccine, saying it was key to have a safe, tested product rather than just being first.

Russia's vaccine, which will be called "Sputnik V" in homage to the world's first satellite launched by the Soviet Union, has not yet completed its final trials. Its regulatory approval came after less than two months of human testing."

It's not about being first somehow - it's about having an effective, tested and therefore safe vaccine," Spahn told Deutschlandfunk radio.

"In order to have trust in such a vaccine, I think it is very, very important, even during a pandemic, to properly do studies, the relevant tests and especially to make them public. The problem is that we know very little about it as the Russian authorities are not being very transparent," he said.


August 12 2020 - 06:39

KZN education department won't tolerate back to school disruptions over Covid-19

KwaZulu-Natal education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said he would not tolerate school disruptions as Grade 7 pupils resumed classes on Monday after a two-week holiday.

Mshengu was speaking at Ithamsanqa Primary in Newcastle when he and basic education deputy minister Reginah Mhaule visited three schools in the area.

"We will be very intolerant of anyone who disrupts the schooling system under the pretence of protecting pupils and teachers against Covid-19," said Mshengu.

August 12 2020 - 06:00

How UWC's feral cats are keeping all nine lives during lockdown

Feral cats roaming the University of the Western Cape (UWC) campus have not lost any of their nine lives during lockdown, because they have been fed every day and are getting emergency vet care, UWC reported on Tuesday.

“Cats have needs, just like humans,” said the cats’ full-time caretaker Patrick Lupuzi.

“They may be solitary animals in many ways, but like us they love attention and companionship. And they also need to be taken care of in terms of food, shelter, health, and so on.” 

When Covid-19 infections started surging in Cape Town, Lupuzi could not safely get to campus on public transport to look after them.

August 12 2020 - 05:40

More than 20.19 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 736,577​ have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 1,226 to 218,519, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday. The reported death toll rose by 6 to 9,207, the tally showed.