COVID-19 WRAP | A New Year's eve like no other, SA urged to buy candles instead of fireworks
December 31 2020 - 21:28
What lockdown Level 3 means for motorists
With the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the country reverts to lockdown level 3, here are guidelines of what is expected of motorists and public transport users, other than the adjusted curfew hours from 9pm to 6am.
There are no changes to the public transport directions, which includes 70% loading capacity for long distance taxis and buses.
December 31 2020 - 21:26
US vaccinations in 2020 fall far short of target of 20 million people
Only about 2.8 million Americans had received a Covid-19 vaccine going into the last day of December, putting the US far short of the government's target to vaccinate 20 million people this month.
Shots are reaching nursing home residents at an even slower pace than others first in line even though they are most at risk of dying of the virus.
Some 170,000 people in long-term care facilities received a shot as of December 30 although 2.2 million doses have been distributed for residents, according to data released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
December 31 2020 - 20:09
SA marks new record high Covid-19 infections on the last day of 2020
SA has recorded more than 18,000 positive coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, setting a record high on the final day of 2020.
This was announced by health minister Zweli Mkhize on Thursday, when he said: “For the first time in the history of the pandemic in South Africa, we have reached the 18,000 mark for new daily cases and have reached a cumulative total 1,057,161 cases.”
More than 55,000 Covid-19 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours and 2020 was drawing to an end with a total of 28,469 Covid-19-related fatalities.
December 31 2020 - 20:09
WATCH LIVE | Cyril Ramaphosa to light candle for victims of Covid-19
President Cyril Ramaphosa will light a candle on New Year's Eve to commemorate the South Africans who have lost their lives to Covid-19.
The lighting of the candle will take place at Khayelitsha District Hospital in Cape Town during the president's visit to the facility to observe the hospital's Emergency Care Unit after alcohol restrictions were enforced.
The president is scheduled to light the candle at 8pm.
December 31 2020 - 16:39
Stop fuelling panic, says health group as it debunks 'fake news' about hospital closures
Life Healthcare Group has dismissed as fake WhatsApp messages saying three of its hospitals in Gauteng are closed for admissions and that no cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) will be done on Covid-19 patients.
The private hospital operator said the messages name Life Wilgeheuwel Hospital, Life Glynnwood Hospital and Life Dalview Hospital.
“This information is false. Rumours and fake news fuel panic within communities and we implore our communities to verify information before they share such information,” said Life Healthcare general manager for emergency medicine Dr Charl van Loggerenberg.
December 31 2020 - 16:18
President Cyril Ramaphosa wishes SA a happy and healthy 2021 after a difficult year
President Cyril Ramaphosa wished South Africans “a happy and healthy 2021” in his New Year message after a difficult year rocked by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ramaphosa said in a televised address that the pandemic had also demonstrated the spirit of ubuntu as citizens took responsibility for each other’s wellbeing, donating their time, energy and resources.
More than one million people have contracted Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, while more than 28,000 have died in SA.
December 31 2020 - 14:11
SA to get firm date on delivery of vaccine by early January, experts say
SA will know in the first few days of January when it will receive a Covid-19 vaccine, a senior health ministry official said on Thursday.
The country is among about 200 which have joined the pooled procurement for the coronavirus vaccine, commonly known as Covax, co-led by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
SA, which accounts for more than a third of Africa's Covid-19 cases, has been battling a surge in cases since the end of November, as a new variant, 501.V2, has been infecting younger people, unlike the first wave, the government said.
December 31 2020 - 14:05
After a harrowing 2020, Asia tiptoes into the New Year
As Asia says goodbye to 2020 - a tumultuous year that saw the planet roiled by a deadly pandemic - celebrations will be smaller, shorter and more muted amid fears of coronavirus flare-ups.
In Beijing, the capital of the world's most-populous country, an annual New Year light show at the China Central Television Tower scheduled for Thursday through Sunday has been called off.
The Beijing Yonghe Lama Temple, a tourist site, has also cut the number of visitors allowed by half since Thursday. Many Chinese tourists are staying home or taking shorter domestic trips.
December 31 2020 - 14:04
SA was right to choose Covax rather than one vaccine supplier, says health DDG
SA has not delayed the procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine, deciding to acquire it in a manner that would not put the country at financial risk.
Deputy director-general of the department of health Dr Anban Pillay said this on SABC's Morning Live on Thursday morning when discussing SA’s vaccine strategy.
Pillay was responding to a question from a viewer who asked how the government can ethically justify lives lost due to government's “delay” in procuring and distributing a vaccine.
December 31 2020 - 14:02
Lobster and foie gras, but no crowds this New Year in France
When the clocks strike midnight on New Year's Eve, France will be under curfew and its citizens plan to celebrate with gourmet food rather than large groups of friends.
At an open-air food market in Paris, fishmonger Rachid Bellahreche said orders were coming in smaller than usual, though his patrons were making up for having to downsize with lobster and scallops.
"The seafood baskets are a bit smaller. But since they'll be fewer around the table, people are buying better quality products," Bellahreche said.
December 31 2020 - 14:00
Deputy police minister Cassel Mathale tests positive for Covid-19
Deputy police minister Cassel Mathale tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday, the police ministry said.
It said Mathale was currently asymptomatic and was self-isolating.
“Mr Mathale is one of 21,294 employees of the SA Police Service who have been infected with the coronavirus,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said 336 members had lost their lives to the virus, while 337 were recovering in hospital.
December 31 2020 - 12:04
From roadblocks to border control: 5 key takes from Aaron Motsoaledi’s address
Additional officials will be deployed to support the defence force at identified high-risk areas along the country's borders where people cross illegally into SA.
This is according to home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
Motsoaledi, who was speaking during a media briefing on Wednesday, said the additional officials will be deployed between January 2-14 due to the expected influx of people returning from other countries.
December 31 2020 - 10:11
'You will get your apology in heaven': Julius Malema unfazed by 'Christmas party' backlash
“I don't care if you are my reliable supporter, you will get an apology in heaven.”
This was the response from Julius Malema to calls for him to apologise for allegedly disregarding Covid-19 regulations during a Christmas gathering.
Videos of the EFF leader partying up a storm are making rounds on Twitter, drawing huge backlash. Many pointed out that Malema had spoken out against social gatherings several times, as the Covid-19 virus continues to ravage SA.
December 31 2020 - 09:06
Covid-19 heroes! Five South Africans who gave us hope during the pandemic
As scores around the country went into self-isolation and quarantine when the Covid-19 pandemic first hit SA, many will go down in history as heroes who decided to put their masks on, go out and make a positive difference by bringing hope and help to those in need.
December 31 2020 - 09:04
POLL | How will you spend New Year's Eve?
The new year is only a few hours away but millions will celebrate New Year's Eve differently because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the regulations in place.
It has been nine months since SA was hit by the virus, with the number of cumulative infections having surpassed 1 million over the weekend.
December 31 2020 - 09:03
'Does he think we are prisoners?': Mzansi on Cele’s call to be in bed by 9pm on New Year's Eve
Police minister Bheki Cele's call for everybody to be in bed by 9pm on New Year's Eve has left many doing a double-take.
On Wednesday, Cele got tongues wagging with his claim that there will be no New Year’s Eve celebrations this year under the adjusted level 3 lockdown.
Speaking during an SA Police Service (SAPS) parade in KwaMashu, Durban, he declared that this year there will be “no December 31" and that people should be in bed by 9pm.
December 31 2020 - 07:31
Covid-19: Clues to survival in 2021
By now almost every South African knows somebody who died because of Covid-19; often, it is someone from your family or a colleague from work or friend of many years.
The vaccine, says the president, will only be available in the second quarter of 2021 and even if so, priority groups (front line health workers, the aged) and the logistics of distribution mean that getting that shot in the arm might only happen towards the end of the next calendar year, or later.
How on earth do we survive until then? Fortunately, there are some vital cues from our behaviour in 2020 that will determine who stands and who falls because of the pandemic threat.
December 31 2020 - 06:21
Private hospital erects emergency patient area in parking lot
A private hospital has set up a 10-bed holding area in the undercover parking lot to cope with an increasing number of people seeking medical care in Pretoria.
Life Eugene Marais Hospital has bolstered capacity in a bid to limit any delays in treating patients arriving at its emergency unit.
Life health care regional manager Johan Holder explained that the holding area was set up to provide patients with the care they required until they could be accommodated inside the hospital or transferred to a suitable facility.