COVID-19 WRAP | Convention centre hospital closed as Covid-19 cases drop in Western Cape

South Africa is likely to hit 600,000 Covid-19 cases on Thursday or Friday, after 3,916 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours.

20 August 2020 - 07:26 By TimesLIVE
Orion EMS employees wheel a patient who tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on a stretcher in Houston, Texas, US, August 19, 2020.
Orion EMS employees wheel a patient who tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on a stretcher in Houston, Texas, US, August 19, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare

August 20 2020 - 19:26

IN QUOTES| Second surges, high-risk patients & the economy: Covid-19 in the Western Cape

The Western Cape government gave an update on Thursday on its response to Covid-19 as well as the province's economic recovery plan during level 2 of lockdown.

Premier Alan Winde urged people to support local businesses.

Dr Keith Cloete, head of the province's health department, said there had been a notable decrease in Covid-19 cases.

August 20 2020 - 18:35

SA booze industry to help reduce the harm of its products - this is how

The South African alcohol industry says it will invest a minimum of R150m in harm-reduction programmes over the next year.

The industry's members include the National Liquor Traders Council, the South African Liquor Brand Owners Association (Salba), the Beer Association of South Africa (Basa), Vinpro, and manufacturers.

“The industry will support legislative and enforcement measures to reduce drinking and driving/walking by capacitating law enforcement with resources to effectively enforce it, and by partnering with retailers regarding interventions in high-risk areas,” said industry spokesperson Sibani Mngadi.

August 20 2020 -17:07

Family 'happy' as military ombud says soldiers were out of line in Collins Khosa death

The family of Collins Khosa — who died on April 10 after an altercation with South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers — have expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the investigation by the military ombud.

Wikus Steyl, the lawyer helping the family with a civil claim against the state, said he spoke to the family after defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula made the omud's findings known to parliament on Wednesday night.

August 20 2020 - 16:32

Convention centre hospital closed as Covid-19 cases drop in Western Cape

The 850-bed Covid-19 field hospital at Cape Town International Convention Centre is closing after treating 1,502 patients.

Resources from the “Hospital of Hope” will be redistributed to other health centres as Covid-19 cases in the province continue their downward trend.

Western Cape head of health Dr Keith Cloete told a media conference on Thursday that hospital beds in the province are 70% full, with only 12% of those occupied by people who tested positive for Covid-19.

August 20 2020 - 15:22

Lockdown has left South Africans drowning in debt

New studies of the impact of lockdown on the economy paint the picture of a country locked in a downward spiral of rising joblessness and debt.

In a recent survey, debt counselling firm DebtBusters found that the debt holiday offered by the banks at the start of the lockdown in late March 2020 had added R20.7bn to the debt of the estimated 1.6 million South Africans who took advantage of this.

Those who accepted the three month repayment holidays offered by the banks, and suspended their payments on car, mortgage and personal loans, will end up paying on average an extra R30,100 on top of what they already owed, according to the results of the study


August 20 2020 - 15:19

Mangosuthu Buthelezi beats Covid-19, a week before he turns 92

IFP founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi is free of Covid-19, just in time for his 92nd birthday,  his family announced on Thursday. 

The 91-year-old had gone for a test after being notified that he had come into contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case. He tested positive but remained asymptomatic while self-isolating.

“He has today [Thursday] received a negative test result, confirming that he is no longer infected. His full medical tests have provided us with complete assurance that he is in good health,” said family spokesperson Bhekuyise Buthelezi. 

August 20 2020 - 14:50

'It breaks your spirit when people live like there's no virus' — KZN nurse

“Last week, I looked after three nurses on ventilators. It could have been me, and all they did was save people who were sick. As nurses, we can do everything but the public can stop this.”

These are the words of KwaZulu-Natal nurse, Nicky de Witt, who opened up to TimesLIVE about the daily challenges of working in a Covid-19 ICU.

De Witt, who worked as a trauma nurse for 12 years before joining ICU in the fight against Covid-19, says it worries her that people think the easing of lockdown means the worst is over.

August 20 2020 - 14:26

WATCH | Making ends 'meat': game reserve to sell culled animals to soften Covid-19 blow

With SA's borders closed and flights limited due to the coronavirus crisis, luxury game lodges are struggling to make an income.

For Somkhanda Game Reserve in northern Zululand, selling game meat has helped it make ends meet.

The reserve normally gives away or sells at a low cost meat from animals it culls each year to manage stocks.

August 20 2020 - 12:40

Luxuries are out as pandemic-hit consumers tighten their purse strings

SA consumers have no extra income for luxuries and buy only essentials, a new survey has revealed.

The survey, led by consumer experience company nlighten together with media consultant Vanessa Raphaely and behavioural specialist Justine Jackson-Fraser, found that almost 50% of respondents have no additional income for luxury goods and buy only the bare essentials.

The aim of the survey — which included 261 respondents — was to assess how the Covid-19 pandemic had changed consumers' shopping and spending behaviour.

August 20 2020 - 10:47

Western Cape murders down by a quarter during lockdown

The Western Cape government is celebrating a 27.4% drop in the provincial murder rate between April and June.

A total of 767 murders were committed in the province in the first three months of the Covid-19 lockdown, compared to 1,056 during the same period in 2019. The decline emerged in the quarterly crime statistics unveiled last week by police minister Bheki Cele.

Sexual offences were down by 37.5%, robberies by 51.1%, assaults with intent to cause grievous bodily harm by 42.9%, carjackings by 35%, and attempted murders by 7.8%.

August 20 2020 - 10:23

No, nightclubs are not allowed to open under lockdown level 2

Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has cleared the air on whether nightclubs may operate under lockdown level 2.

The answer is: no they can't.

Kubayi-Ngubane hosted a media briefing on Wednesday to outline tourism-related activities that are allowed under level 2 of the risk-adjusted strategy.

August 20 2020 - 09:27

WATCH | This is what the future of cinemas in SA will look like because of Covid-19

Cinema company Ster-Kinekor has announced that it will start reopening its cinemas around the country on August 28.

Cinemas in SA have been closed since March 27 and the company said the reopening will be conducted in a phased approach to ensure that employees have been trained on the Covid-19 health and safety measures and all the PPE required are ready when reopening.

Ster-Kinekor will start by reopening 32 cinemas followed by the remaining 21 on September 18.

August 20 2020 - 07:00

Nothing Tops this: MP ‘shops for booze during online meeting’

DA MP Tsepo Mhlongo has been accused of shopping for alcohol during an online parliamentary session.

MPs were livid at video of him allegedly ‘walking at a liquor store while connected to a sitting of parliament’.

August 20 2020 - 06:30

Deputy public protector's visit lays bare failings at Bara

A visit by deputy public protector Kholeka Gcaleka to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto on Wednesday afternoon exposed alleged poor working conditions at the facility.

Although she was assured by management earlier in the day that they had sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers, Gcaleka’s interaction with staff painted a different picture.

August 20 2020 - 06:00

The vile load: SIU sheds light on R5bn PPE corruption probes

The Special Investigating Unit is probing 658 cases of possible corruption linked to state procurement of Covid-19 personal protective equipment worth more than R5bn.

Here, it expands on some of these, including suppliers, scooters, water tanks and the Beitbridge fence.