COVID-19 WRAP | Cop assaulted after breaking up illegal 'after tears' party in Joburg

14 January 2021 - 07:42 By TimesLIVE
A health worker holds a sample beside a car at a coronavirus drive-through sample collection centre in Abuja, Nigeria on January 14 2021.
A health worker holds a sample beside a car at a coronavirus drive-through sample collection centre in Abuja, Nigeria on January 14 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

January 14 2021 - 21:41

30.6 mln doses of Covid-19 vaccines distributed, 11.1 mln administered: US CDC

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had administered 11,148,991 first doses of Covid-19 vaccines in the country as of Thursday morning and distributed 30,628,175 doses.

The tally of vaccine doses distributed and the number of people who received the first dose are for both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, vaccines as of 11:00am on Thursday, the agency said.

According to the tally posted on January 13, the agency had administered 10,278,462 first doses of the vaccines and distributed 29,380,125 doses. A total of 4,715,600 vaccine doses were distributed for use on long-term care facilities and 1,225,493 people in the facilities got their first dose, the agency said.


January 14 2021 - 20:06

PAC must be rebuilt, say mourners at Johnson Mlambo’s memorial

Now is the time to restore the Pan Africanist Congress to its former glory.

This was the call made by the party’s national organiser, Chris Sankara, who was speaking during a virtual memorial service honouring the life of Johnson Phillip Mlambo on Thursday.

“Some of the issues that we are going through as the PAC leaders like Mlambo and [Robert] Sobukwe already knew because they were able to analyse situations. We can only get better from here by focusing on the programme of unity which were central to Mlambo and Sobukwe,” said Sankara, who described Mlambo as a “humble yet disciplined” man.

January 14 2021 - 19:20

OBITUARY | 'A baobab has fallen': Family pays tribute to Nokuthula Sikhakhane

Nokuthula “Matu” Sikhakhane was “the epitome of a complete revolutionary, very humble and feisty against any injustice”.

In particular, she “hated violence against women and children and fought for their rights”.

This is how the family of the late Sikhakhane — who was an adviser to the Gauteng premier's office — paid tribute to the 54-year-old this week.

January 14 2021 - 18:01

Cop assaulted after breaking up illegal 'after tears' party in Joburg

A Johannesburg metro police department (JMPD) officer is in hospital after being assaulted by people who were attending an “after tears” gathering of a prominent pub owner in Protea Glen, Soweto.

According to JMPD spokesperson Xolani Fihla, the officers were attending to a complaint of a gathering and when they arrived, they found about 150 people there.

Since December 29, all gatherings — except funerals — have been prohibited under level 3 Covid-19 lockdown regulations. In the case of funerals, a maximum of 50 people are allowed to attend.

January 14 2021 - 16:20

Cop bust using official police van to offload booze during lockdown

A police officer has been bust moving liquor in a cop van, in direct defiance of lockdown laws.

This comes after Gauteng police were alerted to a video clip being shared initially on Twitter, showing people offloading merchandise — some of it clearly alcohol — from a marked police van.

In the video, men are seen taking significant quantities of liquor from the back of a stationary police vehicle and into a property.

January 14 2021 - 15:10

POLL | Who do you think is best to lead SA through the Covid-19 pandemic?

It has been nearly a year since SA confirmed its first case of Covid-19 in March, with more than a million cumulative infections and recoveries since then.

The government has, in its efforts to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, implemented various measures including introducing lockdowns and regulations such as compulsory mask wearing in public spaces, beach closures in hotspot areas and temporary bans on the sale of alcohol.

Opposition politicians like John Steenhuisen and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, and prominent figures like former public protector Thuli Madonsela have been vocal about the government's response to the pandemic.

January 14 2021 - 15:31

More than 1,600 infected KZN health workers in isolation, MEC tells parliament

The KwaZulu-Natal health department has been unable to increase critical care and high care beds for Covid-19 patients because of a shortage of specialist nurses and doctors.

This is according to health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, who, together with the head of department, Dr Sandile Tshabalala, appeared before the portfolio committee on health on Thursday to give an update on health-care services in relation to Covid-19.

While the department has recorded an overall bed occupancy of 56.3%, the impact of the virus has been devastating on health-care workers, with 1,694 in isolation and 724 in quarantine.

January 14 2021 - 15:09

Gauteng matric exam marker dies from Covid-19

A Johannesburg matric exam marker, who was based at the Jeppe High School for Boys marking centre, has died, apparently from Covid-19 related complications.

Acting Gauteng education department MEC Jacob Mamabolo said on Thursday that the marker was a 59-year-old woman and had been marking the isiXhosa papers.

“It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of one of our markers. Initial reports indicate that the marker was on Tuesday January 12 found unconscious by our centre manager from Jeppe Boys marking venue at her accommodation,” said Mamabolo.

January 14 2021 - 14:24

Delaying 2021 elections to 2024 is unconstitutional: Herman Mashaba to Julius Malema

A delay of the 2021 local government elections to 2024, as called for on Thursday by the EFF, would create a constitutional crisis, says Herman Mashaba, president of ActionSA.

The proposal by the EFF's Julius Malema, he said, “is grossly irresponsible and hypocritical for a man who once labelled Jacob Zuma a constitutional delinquent”.

Mashaba, whose new party hopes to contest the elections, said: “The constitution of our Republic of South Africa limits a term of office to five years. This provision is the most important safeguard to South Africa’s electoral democracy.

January 14 2021 - 14:22

EFF wants national and local government elections merged in 2024

The EFF has called for the local government elections and the reopening of schools to be postponed due to the rising number of Covid-19 infections and related deaths.

In a virtual address, EFF leader Julius Malema said forging ahead with the two major events would be gambling with the lives of South Africans.

Malema said SA did not have the capacity to run elections in any form other than physical voting through the ballot paper.

January 14 2021 - 13:54

25 test positive for Covid-19 at KZN matric marking centre after marker dies

Twenty-five employees at a matric marking centre in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal, have tested positive for Covid-19 after a marker succumbed to the virus.

The KwaZulu-Natal education department said 18 of the 25 were markers.

“All 25 employees are receiving medical attention and have since been released from their duties at the marking centre. In addition to this, one of the markers has since tested positive at a hospital when she had gone for a voluntary test,” the department said on Thursday.

January 14 2021 - 13:00

FACES OF COVID | ‘I will fight,’ says son after dad dies of Covid-19 in hospital bed next to him

His hospital bed is empty. His voice has gone quiet and a giant in the family has fallen.

A well-known Cape Town pianist remains hopeful that he will overcome Covid-19 after he had to watch his father slowly losing his battle to the virus in a hospital bed next to him.

“The one moment he was fine and the next moment he just died. It was a huge shock, like somebody stabbed you through your heart.

January 14 2021 - 12:52

French PM says Covid-19 vaccines more widely accepted by people

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday he was happy to see that Covid-19 vaccinations were starting to be more widely accepted by French people, who are among the most sceptical in the world towards vaccines.

"I happily notice that the acceptance of the vaccination programme is increasing and that is great news for our country," Castex said while visiting a vaccination facility in the east of France.

He said he was expecting people to rush to get vaccinated and called for patience.

January 14 2021 - 12:46

Water supply restored to Durban Covid-19 hotspot

A pump that malfunctioned, cutting off the water supply to Chatsworth, south of Durban, was repaired on Thursday.

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the pump at Northdene was in operation.

“As a result, Shallcross Reservoir is full to its capacity and certain homes have already started to receive running water.

January 14 2021 - 12:45

Zweli Mkhize warns of fake 5G conspiracy theory, as SA's Covid-19 recovery rate surpasses 1 million

SA has reached a milestone of more than one million Covid-19 recoveries, with the cumulative rate now at 80.6%. 

“Our recoveries now stand at 1,030,930, representing a recovery rate of 80.6%," said the health ministry report on Wednesday.

While this is much-needed good news, health minister Zweli Mkhize issued a warning on Wednesday against misinformation and conspiracy theories about the spread of Covid-19 “through 5G network towers”. 

January 14 2021 - 11:21

Bhisho spells out plan to vaccinate 3.7 million people

The Eastern Cape government has given itself at least six months to roll out the Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

It wants to give 3.7 million people the vaccine, with 200,000 health-care workers — both in the public and private sector — targeted as part of phase one.

For the mass rollout, premier Oscar Mabuyane’s spokesperson Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha on Wednesday said they would use community halls and schools to give residents the vaccine.

January 14 2021 - 11:20

PODCAST: Tough love and real science for Ramaphosa

January 14 2021 - 11:19

State’s ‘bizarre’ plan to roll out Covid-19 vaccines at Eastern Cape schools

Bhisho's ambitious plan to roll out Covid-19 vaccines includes using half of all schools in the province as vaccination centres — a move that has been labelled “bizarre”. 

The provincial government on Wednesday moved to explain the phases of vaccination, with 200,000 health workers and people in related sectors first in line for the jab when doses arrive at the end of January.

But the real eye-opener is the plan to use more than 2,800 of the province's 5,400 schools as vaccination centres. This was revealed in a presentation by the provincial health department to the national portfolio committee on health on Wednesday.

January 14 2021 - 11:17

Coronavirus Command Council recommends that school reopening be postponed by two weeks

The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) has recommended that the reopening of schools be postponed from January 27 to February 15 because of the spike in Covid-19 infections.

Education stakeholders including school governing body associations, teacher unions and the National Alliance of Independent Schools Associations (Naisa) met with the senior officials from the department of basic education on Wednesday night.

Ebrahim Ansur, secretary-general of Naisa, comprising nine member associations representing 1,400 independent schools, said that the NCCC had recommended that the department consult stakeholders to share the view that all schools should delay reopening until February 15.

January 14 2021 - 10:48

SA expats feel good after vaccine jabs

Andile Gova, an expatriate nurse at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland in the US who received his first dose of the Moderna vaccine on December 21, said he was kept for 15 minutes for medical observation before he was allowed to go home.

Gova, originally from Port Elizabeth, told Sowetan yesterday about his experiences when he took the shot, which is being rolled out to health workers in the US.

“I chose to go to a pharmacy because they are independent and I didn't want a biased opinion. I was given a booklet with a list of ingredients used to manufacture the Moderna vaccine to check if I was allergic to any of them.

January 14 2021 - 10:36

Popular Muslim cemetery in Cape Town full as Covid-19 deaths mount

The most popular municipal Muslim cemetery in Cape Town has run out of space due to Covid-19.

The City of Cape Town said it had allocated extra space for 837 Muslim burials at Maitland cemetery after Klip Road cemetery in Grassy Park filled up.

In a statement, the council said it was working with the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) to increase burial capacity at the remaining 10 municipal cemeteries with a Muslim allotment. Cape Town also has private Muslim cemeteries.

January 14 2021 - 10:32

Land reform & farming policy expert Prof Mohammad Karaan dies

Tributes are being shared after the death of agricultural policy influencer Prof Mohammad Karaan on Wednesday.

Western Cape agriculture minister Ivan Meyer said he had succumbed to symptoms of Covid-19.

He described Karaan as an academic and thought leader on agriculture.

“His death is a massive loss for the academic and agricultural community in SA.

January 14 2021 - 09:50

With the arts and entertainment industry being one of the hardest hit sectors by the Covid-19 pandemic, Prince Kaybee believes that some artists may never recover from the financial blow. 

As cases and deaths continue to soar, many South Africans face job losses amid fearing for their lives. They include artists and musicians, whose pockets have been hit hard due to Covid-19 restrictions on social gatherings. 

“Unfortunately some artists are going to lose momentum to an extent they might never make it back financially after this pandemic,” Kaybee said. 

January 14 2021 - 09:20

China Covid-19 cases surge to high in over 10 months; WHO team arrives

China reported its biggest jump in Covid-19 cases in more than 10 months as infections in northeastern Heilongjiang province nearly tripled, underscoring the growing threat ahead of a major national holiday when hundreds of millions of people usually travel.

Aggressive containment measures including lockdowns, travel curbs and mass screenings have helped China bring cases down to a fraction of what it saw at the height of the pandemic in early 2020. But the country has yet to be able to completely stamp out the disease, which has now killed nearly 2 million worldwide, even as Covid-19 vaccinations have begun.

The National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement that 138 new Covid-19 cases were reported on January 13, up from 115 cases a day earlier and marking the highest jump since March 5. China also reported one new death, the first increase in the death toll since mid-May.

January 14 2021 - 07:54

AKA claps back at being labelled a 'coronavirus conspiracy theorist'

Rapper and producer AKA has hit back at critics for labelling him a Covid-19 conspiracy theorist.

Though AKA is usually on the TL for the banter, the Bhovamania star also takes the opportunity to share his opinions on worldly matters such as the coronavirus pandemic.

Recently, the “Supa Mega” took to Twitter with some controversial thoughts on the pandemic. The star questioned whether asymptomatic carriers actually had the virus in the first place.

January 14 2021 - 07:51

JONATHAN JANSEN | Schools should absolutely not reopen in lockdown level three

Officially, about 2,000 teachers have died of Covid-19. Think about that.

Let us assume that it took four years to train each of them, the basic duration of an education degree (BED) or a three-year general Bachelor’s degree, with an additional year of teacher training (PGCE). Older teachers might hold a certificate of two or three years, but consider that washed out by the many hours of in-service teacher training during the course of a career. So four years it is, and for 2,000 teachers that means these deaths count as 8,000 years of teacher training lost in one year because of the pandemic. For an education planner, that staggering loss of teaching expertise is a disaster; for the families of the deceased, the loss is an unfathomable tragedy. Should schools reopen as scheduled?

In a heart-rending story first reported by the Los Angeles Times, children were found apologising to their elders who were dying in hospital beds. The youngsters brought the virus home. Last time I wrote about a friend who had heart-transplant surgery and whose wife was an active teacher. Well, he is now ashes. But our department of basic education is steaming ahead to reopen schools on January 25, regardless of the human toll.

January 14 2021 - 07:40 

'We have 806 deaths today': Ndlozi on Covid-19 deaths reported in the last 24-hours

January 14 2021 - 07:37

AU secures 270 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from manufacturers

The AU has secured a provisional 270 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from manufacturers for member states to supplement the COVAX programme, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

African nations are grappling with a second wave of the novel coronavirus, infections rising to at least 3.1 million and 74,600 deaths over the course of the pandemic, according to a Reuters tally.

The vaccines will be supplied by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, through the Serum Institute of India, and Johnson & Johnson, said Ramaphosa, who chairs the AU.

He added that all 270 million doses would be made available this year, with at least 50 million available “for the crucial period of April to June 2021".

January 14 2021 - 07:33

ANCYL branch calls for arrests of its own members for peddling fake Covid cures

“We just want people to share the correct information — that will save lives.”

This is according to Musawenkosi Buthelezi, spokesperson for the ANC Youth League's Gauteng Crisis Committee, which is calling for the “immediate arrest” of youth league compatriots who shared false information on Covid-19.

In posters being shared widely on social media, the ANCYL's greater Tshwane region poster claims — falsely — that there were “Covid-19 fighting pH foods”, including bananas, lemons, avocado, pineapple watercress, pineapple and garlic.