COVID-19 WRAP | Alcohol banned for 2 weeks as SA moves to level 3

28 December 2020 - 06:00 By TimesLIVE
A military medical staff member prepares a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine as the coronavirus outbreak continues, in Mexico City, Mexico.
A military medical staff member prepares a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine as the coronavirus outbreak continues, in Mexico City, Mexico.
Image: REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

December 28 2020 - 22:10

336 Covid-19 deaths on the eve of SA returning to level 3 of the lockdown

As SA prepared to return to lockdown level 3, the health ministry said on Monday night that there had been another 336 Covid-19 related deaths over 24 hours.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases identified since the start of the pandemic in SA was 1,011,871.

“Our recoveries stand at 849,974. This represents a recovery rate of 84%.”

December 28 2020 - 22:04

WRAP | How Ramaphosa read the riot act to SA for becoming lax about Covid-19

President Cyril Ramaphosa has read South Africans the riot act, lambasting the nation for “simply letting their guard down” and “failure as a people to simply take responsibility” for the rapid spread of Covid-19.

An emotional Ramaphosa appeared close to shedding a tear during his announcement, placing the country on alert level three on recommendations made by the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) and cabinet.

December 28 2020 - 21:04

IN FULL | Ramaphosa's emotional plea to SA as infections soar

President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled tougher lockdown restrictions on Monday evening in response to a second wave of Covid-19 which he described as an “extremely dangerous point in our fight against the pandemic”.

December 28 2020 - 20:44

SA back under level 3 lockdown, alcohol banned as Covid-19 surges

SA will go into lockdown level 3 with immediate effect from midnight, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday.

He said this would be done to curb the further spread of the coronavirus that is wreaking havoc in the country.

Under adjusted lockdown level 3, all indoor and outdoor gatherings will be immediately prohibited.

December 28 2020 - 20:39

'We have let our guard down and are paying the price': Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa warned the nation in a televised address on Monday evening that “we have simply let our guard down and we are now paying the price”.

He was speaking about a surge in Covid-19 infections which threatens to overwhelm hospitals in some provinces. He said SA would be placed on level 3 lockdown from midnight.

December 28 2020 - 20:31

New Covid-19 hotspots have been declared in SA.
New Covid-19 hotspots have been declared in SA.
Image: Twitter/@PresidencyZA

December 28 2020 - 20:25

Some of the new regulations in place as SA moves back to level 3 of the lockdown.
Some of the new regulations in place as SA moves back to level 3 of the lockdown.
Image: Twitter/@PresidencyZA
Some of the new regulations in place as SA moves back to level 3 of the lockdown.
Some of the new regulations in place as SA moves back to level 3 of the lockdown.
Image: Twitter/@PresidencyZA

December 28 2020 - 20:21

Alcohol will be banned for two weeks from midnight. This ban will be in place until January 15, and will then be reviewed.

December 28 2020 - 20:19

The adjusted regulations include that restaurant must close at 8pm. Ramaphosa also said face masks are compulsory in any public space and anyone who does not wear a mask in public will be committing an offence and could be arrested, with conviction resulting in a fine or imprisonment for six months.

December 28 2020 - 20:16

The daily curfew in SA will be adjusted to 9pm to 6am.

December 28 2020 - 20:15

All gatherings will be prohibited for 14 days.

December 28 2020 - 20:13

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that SA will move to level 3 with immediate effect.

December 28 2020 - 20:12

More than 41,000 health workers have contracted Covid-19 to date. 

December 28 2020 - 20:10

The president says excessive alcohol consumption is also driving up trauma cases in hospitals. He adds that ICU beds in hospitals are full or rapidly filling up, with several provinces hard at work to prepare additional beds and ventilators.

December 28 2020 - 20:07

President Cyril Ramaphosa says we have let our guard down and are now paying the price. 

He says the consumption of alcohol in venues has contributed to risky behaviour, such as not wearing masks.

December 28 2020 - 17:47

President Ramaphosa to address the nation at 8pm on pandemic

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 8pm on Monday on the second wave of Covid-19 infections that is placing hospitals and health care staff under massive strain.

Ramaphosa will speak “on developments in relation to the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic”, the presidency said in a statement just before 6pm on Monday.

December 28 2020 - 16:53

Covid-19 tests rationed in Cape Town as demand soars, says Winde

Covid-19 tests are being rationed in Cape Town due to high demand, Western Cape premier Alan Winde said on Monday.

“We have introduced a risk-adjusted testing strategy ... to ensure that testing is reserved for situations where there is the most risk,” Winde said in a statement.

December 28 2020 - 14:40

ICU and high care beds, oxygen and ventilators may not always be available: Netcare CEO

Netcare, one of the country’s largest private health-care providers, has said that the surge in Covid-19 infections, particularly in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, has placed a “significant and unprecedented demand” on the hospital group's facilities.

In a statement on Monday, Dr Richard Friedland, CEO of Netcare, said in these four provinces, the number of patients admitted to hospital far exceeds what was experienced in the first wave of the pandemic.

December 28 2020 - 13:29

Covid-19: Tribute to Disabled Youth of SA chair Wonderboy Qaji

The national chairperson of Disabled Youth of SA (DYSA), Wonderboy Qaji, has succumbed to Covid-19 complications.

This is according to deputy social development minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, who on Monday expressed her condolences to his family, colleagues and friends.

Qaji, a lawyer by profession, led DYSA in strategic deployments including the Presidential Working Group on Disability, ensuring the voices of youth with disabilities were heard, she said.

December 28 2020 - 13:27

KZN north coast 'in holiday mode' despite Covid-19 surge, no hospital beds and oxygen shortage: Medic

There are no hospital beds for Covid-19 patients in certain areas of KwaZulu-Natal and not enough oxygen to keep critical patients stable.

That's according to Paul Herbst, IPSS Medical Rescue operations manager who works predominantly in the province's north coast area.

The north coast is experiencing an influx of visitors, predominantly from Gauteng, who do the annual migration during the festive season to enjoy the beaches in Durban all the way up to Kosi Bay on the border of Mozambique.

December 28 2020 - 12:11

Piecemeal data releases threaten to undermine Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine

Fragmental releases of efficacy data for the Covid-19 vaccine developed by China's Sinovac could undermine confidence in the shot, experts warned, as several countries prepare for mass inoculations with the vaccine.

Turkish researchers said on Thursday Sinovac's CoronaVac was 91.25% effective based on an interim analysis only to see a confusing readout the same day from Brazil which said the vaccine's efficacy was between 50% and 90%.

Brazil has also delayed release of its efficacy data on the vaccine three times, as Sinovac seeks to consolidate data from global trials that include Indonesia, Turkey and Chile.

—Reuters

December 28 2020 - 11:25

Calls for new alcohol restrictions as SA's Covid-19 cases soar

The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in SA (Saapa SA) is calling for new restrictions on access to alcohol following a rapid spike in reported Covid-19 cases and deaths across the country.

National health minister Zweli Mkhize said SA had breached one million positive cases on Sunday.

The Sunday Times reported President Cyril Ramaphosa would recall ministers and officials to discuss a response to the second wave of infections which had left private and public hospitals running out of intensive care beds and oxygen in four provinces.

December 28 2020 - 10:45

Looming crisis for education department as Covid-19 hits scores of teachers over festive period

The education department has expressed concern about how the growing number of coronavirus infections and fatalities during this festive season may affect the new school year.

Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said there was a looming “massive problem” which could hit the education ministry as its loses teachers to Covid-19. He said last week, he learnt the lives of 14 teachers had been claimed by the virus in one province. A day later, 18 others died.

“Thirty-two teachers in less than a week all gone from a single province that is reporting. The grieving over these holidays is too much,” Mhlanga said on his Twitter account.

December 28 2020 - 09:13

'How many more lockdowns?' - DA's Dean Macpherson questions SA's vaccine plans

DA MP Dean Macpherson has questioned the government's plans for rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine, claiming lockdowns, like load-shedding, may soon become “another SA way of life”.

Macpherson's comments come amid reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to impose additional lockdown restrictions this week as SA's Covid-19 infections continue to rise.

According to a Sunday Times report citing a government insider, Ramaphosa will recall cabinet ministers from their holidays to hold an urgent meeting on Tuesday to address the rise in infections which has left private and public hospitals running out of intensive care beds and oxygen in the four major provinces.

December 28 2020 - 09:13

Packed bars shut down as Gauteng police enforce Covid-19 regulations

Boozing revellers remain a problem for police, according to Gauteng law enforcement.

Provincial police arrested more than 1,340 suspects over the Christmas weekend.

Capt Kay Makhubele said police closed down a popular liquor outlet in Sandton, which was previously raided during a visit by police minister Bheki Cele, and arrested the owner after the outlet was found to be operating illegally.

December 28 2020 - 07:51

Discovery Health allocates cash to help SA source Covid-19 vaccine

Discovery Health says funding has been set aside for its members to get the Covid-19 vaccine as it throws its weight behind the country's bid to source a cost-effective supplier.

Timelines have not yet been confirmed as the medical insurance giant is in “extensive” negotiations with other private and government role players to secure a vaccine, Ronald Whelan, chief commercial officer at Discovery Health, told eNCA.

This comes as SA has breached the one million mark for infections, and there is talk of fresh restrictions being imposed to curb the recent resurgence of infections which has left private and public hospitals running out of intensive care beds and oxygen in four provinces.

December 28 2020 - 07:09

WATCH | Disaster, tragedy and uncertainty: A world in turmoil

The year 2020 has been one of uncertainty, outrage and anguish as the entire world was thrown into a state of turmoil at the hands of the coronavirus pandemic.

To date, the virus has infected more than 81m people globally, and caused the loss of more than 1.7 million lives.

Many countries implemented strict lockdown measures in bids to curb the spread of Covid-19, and these measures often brought pre-virus issues to the fore.

December 28 2020 - 06:35

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 80.43 million, death toll at 1,760,548

More than 80.43 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,760,548​ 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.

—Reuters

December 28 2020 - 06:04

Trump signs pandemic aid and spending bill, averting government shutdown

US President Donald Trump on Sunday signed into law a $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package, restoring unemployment benefits to millions of Americans and averting a federal government shutdown in a crisis of his own making.

Trump, who leaves office on January 20 after losing November's election to President-elect Joe Biden, backed down from his earlier threat to block the bill, which was approved by Congress last week, after he came under intense pressure from lawmakers on both sides.

The Republican president, who golfed on Sunday and remained out of public view even as the government crisis loomed, had demanded that Congress change the bill to increase the size of stimulus checks for struggling Americans to $2,000 from $600 and also cut some other spending.

—Reuters

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