COVID-19 WRAP | Ramaphosa: 'Alcohol sales banned, schools closing soon'

27 June 2021 - 06:30 By TimesLIVE
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A health worker looks on as she waits to give a dose of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine during a vaccine rollout for teachers in Meyerton, south of Johannesburg, South Africa June 23, 2021.
A health worker looks on as she waits to give a dose of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine during a vaccine rollout for teachers in Meyerton, south of Johannesburg, South Africa June 23, 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

June 27 2021 — 22:21

IN FULL | 'The aim is to rapidly increase the rate of vaccinations': Ramaphosa moves SA to level 4

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday announced that the country would move to level 4 lockdown restrictions.

This means that, among other things, all gatherings are prohibited, except for funerals with a maximum of 50 people. The sale of all alcohol is banned and a curfew will be in effect from 9pm.

June 27 2021 — 21:47

'Our vaccines are safe,' Ramaphosa on growing fears of Delta variant

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday allayed the fears of his citizens saying the vaccines that the country has secured thus far are “safe, effective and save lives."

“There is evidence that evidence that the vaccines we are using in South Africa are effective against the Delta variant,” said Ramaphosa.

During his address, Ramaphosa announced that the country was now on adjusted level 4 and imposed a harder lockdown in a bid to further stop the increasing number of infections and ease the burdened health sector.

June 27 2021 — 21:47

School holidays brought forward as number of Covid-19 cases rises

President Cyril Ramaphosa has brought forward the closure of schools for the winter holidays by a few weeks as the country battles to curb the rise of new Covid-19 infections.

Schools have also been affected by Covid-19 cases with Gauteng recording 4,700 Covid-19 cases in its schools as infections continue to rise.

The schools were supposed to close on July 12 to 23 for the winter season.

June 27 2021 — 21:21

Solidarity Fund donates R16m to get more nurses in Gauteng, says Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the Gauteng health department is recruiting additional human resources to support the increased workload to deal with more admissions in hospital as Covid-19 cases rise in the province.

Among the interventions, Ramaphosa said the Solidarity Fund has provided R16m to support the recruitment and placement of additional nurses in Gauteng hospitals to complement the military health team that has been deployed to assist.

The province has recorded the majority of new Covid-19 cases in the past few weeks, and this has led to more demand for health services as hospital admissions rise.

June 27 2021 — 20:37

'Don't get bored with wearing your mask'

Ramaphosa said wearing masks was one of the most basic but best ways to prevent the spread of the virus while we wait for the vaccine rollout to gain momentum.

“The entire world is crying out for vaccines and we are doing everything we can to make sure the vaccines are here.”

He called on anyone with even mild symptoms to self-isolate. If you were in contact with someone who tested positive, you have to go into quarantine.

“Through the choices that we make we can help to contain it.”

June 27 2021 — 20:30

Ramaphosa urges people to register for vaccine

Ramaphosa called on all who are eligible to register for the vaccine to do so.

He criticised misinformation about the vaccine. “Please say long and hard before you press on your device that button to share or send. Please consider the harm you are causing by spreading false information.” 

“They [vaccines] are safe, they are effective and they do save lives.”

Also, there is evidence that the vaccines we are using in SA are effective against the Delta variant, he added.

June 27 2021 — 20:20

'We don't know how long the third wave will last'

Ramaphosa said there was no telling how long the third wave would last. 

Hospitals were under huge pressure, he said.

“Private facilities are buckling under the strain.”

This meant the existing measures were not enough to help hospitals cope with a surge in infections.

He said person-to-person contact needed to be constrained, as SA did with the first and second waves.

“Cabinet has decided the country should move to adjusted alert level four.”

These measures are in place for the next fourteen days:

  • All gatherings — indoors and outdoors — are prohibited.
  • A curfew will be in place from 9pm to 4am.
  • Funerals are permitted with only 50 people in attendance.
  • The sale of alcohol is prohibited.
  • Leisure travel in and out of Gauteng is prohibited.
  • Visits to old-age homes will be restricted.
  • Restaurants will be only permitted to sell takeaways.
  • The closure of schools for the winter holidays will be brought forward and schools will start closing this coming Wednesday and all schools will be expected to close by the end of the week on Friday.
  • Contact lessons at tertiary institutions will end on Wednesday.

June 27 2021 — 20:15

'The Delta variant is spreading like a wildfire'

“We now face another great challenge which is another hill to climb,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in an address to the nation on Sunday evening.

He said during his last address he spoke about the dangers of the third wave but now the situation had worsened.

We are seeing a huge resurgence of infections, he said. 

The virus was continuing to mutate, said Ramaphosa. “In addition, we now have the Delta variant,” first detected in India.

“The Delta variant spread like wildfire in India. That variant has now been detected in five of our provinces.”

This variant is “much more contagious” than others and there is much scientists do not know about it.

“It is easier to catch this virus through person to person contact.”

June 27 2021 — 19:46

15,000 new Covid-19 cases in SA with recovery rate now at 88.7%

SA has lost another 122 people to complications caused by the coronavirus, the health department said on Sunday evening.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases reported in SA in Sunday is 1,928,897 with 15,036 new cases reported. This increase represents a 26.9 % positivity rate.

Gauteng province accounts for the majority of new cases (66%), followed by the Western Cape (9%).

June 27 2021 — 16:05

Zimbabwe approves use of ivermectin to treat Covid-19

Zimbabwe is officially allowing the use of ivermectin to treat Covid-19, as the third wave of infections sets in.

Preliminary research findings in the UK from a small pilot study on the drug, used to treat parasite infections, show that giving it early to Covid-19 patients could reduce viral load levels.

Through a government notice, the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) said: “The secretary for health and child care has authorised the MCAZ to authorise the importation and use of ivermectin for Covid-19. MCAZ will issue bulk section 75 approval for importation of human formulations of ivermectin manufactured by compliant facilities.”

June 27 2021 — 15:02

Level 4 coming: Booze ban, leisure travel in Gauteng nixed, parks to close, say sources

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to move the country to alert level four, banning the sale of alcohol immediately, in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19 infections, sources told TimesLIVE.

“Alcohol banned for both off and on sales and transportation,” said a source close to the discussions taking place in the national coronavirus command council now under way.

TimesLIVE also understands that when the president delivers his address at 8pm on Sunday night, he will put in place a curfew restricting people to their homes between 9pm and 4am.

June 27 2021 — 14:55

Three districts in KZN have run out of vaccine doses for teachers

The KwaZulu-Natal department of education has announced a temporary suspension of the vaccine rollout at sites in three of its districts in the province, but says there is no need to panic.

Spokesperson for the department Muzi Mahlambi said the three affected districts are uMkhanyakude, eThekwini and Pinetown.

“All educators that were supposed to be vaccinated tomorrow, Monday, and on Tuesday, we are appealing to them to go back to school and not go to the site where they were supposed to go as it had been planned,” Mahlambi said.

June 27 2021 — 13:40

Here's how alcohol industry says SA can limit Covid-19 while mitigating economic harm

As the country waits to hear what restrictions President Cyril Ramaphosa will put in place when he addresses the country on Sunday night, the alcohol industry has thrown in its own recommendations on restrictions the government can introduce to curb the increasing number of Covid-19 cases.

A total ban on alcohol sales is not one of them.

The industry has recommended that a total ban on alcohol not be put in place, arguing that as much as lives need to be saved, livelihoods also need to be protected. 

June 27 2021 — 12:30

Germany expects faster Moderna Covid-19 vaccine deliveries

Germany expects drugmaker Moderna Inc to deliver Covid-19 vaccines faster than expected, helping it ramp up vaccinations in coming months, the health ministry said on Sunday.

Moderna will increase its deliveries to 1.33 million doses a week in July from 733,000 previously expected, raising the figure to 2.57 million a week in August and 2.95 million a week in September, the ministry said.

Moderna said last week it hopes to be able to deliver the Covid-19 vaccines it has promised to Germany more quickly than originally planned, without giving figures.


June 27 2021 — 09:45

SA's third wave: 157 deaths and 17,958 new Covid-19 cases in a day

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases says 17,958 new Covid-19 cases have been identified in SA, representing a 25.6% positivity rate.

Its report, issued on Saturday night, said 157 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities related to the pandemic to 59,778.

Gauteng accounted for the majority of new cases (63%), followed by the Western Cape (10%). 

June 27 2021 — 09:30

Kubayi issues impassioned plea to SA to adhere with Covid-19 protocols

It is your civil duty, when you see someone not adhering to the Covid-19 protocols, to tell them that their conduct is “unbecoming and unacceptable.”

This was the statement made by acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi during her plea to the country to comply with non-pharmaceutical measures.

“We are pleading with you South Africans and we are pleading with you Gautengers. We can increase the restrictions but without your response, we will not be able to win this pandemic,” said Kubayi on Saturday.

June 27 2021 — 08:29

New Zealand extends Covid-19 alert level in capital

New Zealand will extend the Covid-19 alert level in the capital Wellington for two days, as authorities said on Sunday there is still a risk from an Australian tourist who tested positive for the coronavirus after visiting the city last weekend.

Wellington, which moved to Alert Level 2 on Wednesday, will now remain at that level until Tuesday.

“It's clear that we are not out of the woods yet,” Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told a news briefing. 


June 27 2021 — 06:35

Tough choices as Covid-19 swamps SA

President Cyril Ramaphosa is caught between a rock and a hard place ahead of tonight's family meeting — with calls by health experts to introduce harsher restrictions in light of an unprecedented surge in infections, while organised business calls on him to keep the economy open.

His challenge will be further complicated by the need to keep the faltering vaccination rollout moving, while stemming the spread of the dangerous and highly contagious Delta variant, which is spreading across the country.

Top government officials are said to have been left shaken by an expert briefing to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) yesterday. Ramaphosa is now scheduled to outline the government's course of action in a national address at 8pm tonight.

June 27 2021 — 06:32

'Long Covid-19' causing distress among survivors in recovery

Larina Manilall uses plastic crockery and utensils for her safety, battles to communicate with her husband and child, is unable to work and can’t watch TV or type a text.

Doctors initially believed she was seeking attention or exaggerating her condition. But they soon realised the 41-year-old Durban woman is suffering from “long Covid-19” after contracting the virus in December — and her life has been turned upside down.

Most people with Covid-19 recover in two to three weeks. But some can experience symptoms for months. There is no data on the prevalence of long Covid-19 in SA, but medical experts understand from both local and global experience that about 30% of Covid-19 patients will experience persistent symptoms beyond three months of the initial illness.

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