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WRAP | Alcohol sales ban back in the spotlight; and City of Johannesburg is the Covid-19 hotspot

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43m ago

There are 250 687 coronavirus cases, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.

The number of deaths jumped by 140 to 3860.

The number of recoveries is 118 232, which translates to a recovery rate of 47,2%.

Gauteng has 87 033 infections. 

Alcohol sales ban back in the spotlight amid complaints to govt's coronavirus command council

The increase in the number of alcohol-related trauma cases and its impact on the health system has been tabled before the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said this on Friday during a visit to Tshwane District Hospital as Gauteng's Covid-19 cases increased sharply.

1 647 cases reported to IPID between March and June, of which 249 were completed

An investigation into the death of Collins Khosa is one of 249 cases the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) completed during the lockdown.

Without going into the outcome the investigation, acting IPID executive director Patrick Setshedi told the Portfolio Committee on Police, in response to a question by ANC MP Jacqueline Mofokeng, that they have made recommendations to the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) and the police.

City of Johannesburg is the hotspot - here's a breakdown of the numbers

As of Friday, 10 July, the City of Johannesburg has the highest number of Covid-19 cases at 38 045 - 46.6% of the total 81 546 cases in the province.

The sub-district of City of Johannesburg D has the highest number of cases - 8 327. The areas in the district are Doornkop, Soweto, Dobsonville and Protea Glen.

Moody's: Covid-19 could push public debt close to 100% in two years

Moody's expects SA's economic activity to pick up in the second half of the year, but it will still remain weak.

Furthermore, Covid-19 is expected to push public debt to nearly 100% of GDP by March 2022.

Nehawu furious after nurse dies of Covid-19: 'She was a breadwinner and she is gone now'

The Mpumalanga provincial leadership of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) on Friday accused the provincial health department of not sufficiently protecting its frontline workers after a nurse from KwaMhlanga Hospital died of Covid-19.

Provincial secretary of Nehawu, Welcome Mnisi, told News24 the nurse contracted Covid-19 on duty at KwaMhlanga Hospital and was transferred to Witbank Tertiary Hospital, where she died on 3 July.

1h ago

There are 250 687 coronavirus cases, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.

The number of deaths jumped by 140 to 3860.

The number of recoveries is 118 232, which translates to a recovery rate of 47,2%.

Gauteng has 87 033 infections. 

1h ago

Queen Noloyiso to be laid to rest in special official funeral, flags to fly at half mast

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a special provincial funeral for the late Queen Noloyiso Sandile, Regent of the Royal House of the AmaRharhabe.

In a statement on Friday, presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said Ramaphosa had declared a special official funeral category one.

READ HERE

2h ago

#SchoolStayAway gets no support from teacher unions despite sharing similar concerns

Teacher unions acknowledge there are issues still facing schools amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but they do not support disruptions by political movements trying to gain a "foothold" by using schools. 

News24 spoke to the unions on Friday during demonstrations at schools - under the hashtag #SchoolStayAway - curated by, among other organisations, former DA leader Mmusi Maimane's One South Africa Movement (OSAM).

MORE HERE

3h ago

Nehawu furious after nurse dies of Covid-19: 'She was a breadwinner and she is gone now'

The Mpumalanga provincial leadership of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) on Friday accused the provincial health department of not sufficiently protecting its frontline workers after a nurse from KwaMhlanga Hospital died of Covid-19.

Provincial secretary of Nehawu, Welcome Mnisi, told News24 the nurse contracted Covid-19 on duty at KwaMhlanga Hospital and was transferred to Witbank Tertiary Hospital, where she died on 3 July.

Tap here for more

7h ago

Policing has 'come at a cost' - 5 000 officers infected, 36 fatalities, says Bheki Cele

Police Minister Bheki Cele says policing during the Covid-19 pandemic has "come at a cost" to the South African Police Service (SAPS), saying 5 000 officers became infected and 36 lost their lives. 

"Armed with your masks, gloves hand sanitisers and other protective gear, the SAPS rose to the occasion. You left the comforts of your homes and went out into the eye of the storm when the public heeded [President Cyril Ramaphosa's] call to stay at home," Cele said. 

<p><strong>Policing has 'come at a cost' - 5 000 officers infected, 36 fatalities, says Bheki Cele</strong></p><p>Police Minister Bheki Cele says policing during the Covid-19 pandemic has "come at a cost" to the South African Police Service (SAPS), saying 5 000 officers became infected and 36 lost their lives.&nbsp;</p><p>"Armed with your masks, gloves hand sanitisers and other protective gear, the SAPS rose to the occasion. You left the comforts of your homes and went out into the eye of the storm when the public heeded [President Cyril Ramaphosa's] call to stay at home," Cele said.&nbsp;<strong></strong><br /></p><script async="" charset="utf-8" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script>
Story by Riaan Grobler

7h ago

The US recorded over 65,000 Covid-19 infections in a day

The US on Thursday recorded its highest ever number of new coronavirus infections, as the disease continues to sweep the country.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, 65,551 new cases were recorded on Thursday, the highest single day tally yet recorded.

The previous daily record for new cases was set only two days earlier on Tuesday, when 60,200 new cases were recorded.

Tap here to read more

7h ago

Covid-19: Not enough studies in Africa - scientist leading SA's first vaccine trial

The prominent scientist leading South Africa's first Covid-19 vaccine trial, Professor Shabir Madhi, says there should rather be a discussion on the fact that not enough studies are being done in Africa, instead of criticism about "possibly using Africans as guinea pigs".

The Professor of Vaccinology at Wits University, who is the director of the South Africa Medical Research Council Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit, is leading South Africa's first Covid-19 vaccine trial.

Two thousand participants are to be enrolled as part of the trial, which aims to find the vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 infection, which is the virus that causes Covid-19.

Read more

9h ago

'Cheap politicking': Mkhize slams the DA for Eastern Cape medical scooters criticism

With guns blazing, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has hit back at the DA's criticism of the Eastern Cape's controversial medical scooters which, according to Mkhize, were never intended to replace ambulances. 

Mkhize's response to DA MP Siviwe Gwarube's written parliamentary question, revealed that the scooter project that the Eastern Cape health department launched, did not meet the basic criteria for patient transport as an ambulance. 

<p><strong>'Cheap politicking': Mkhize slams the DA for Eastern Cape medical scooters criticism</strong></p><p>With guns blazing, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has hit back at the DA's criticism of the Eastern Cape's controversial medical scooters which, according to Mkhize, were never intended to replace ambulances.&nbsp;</p><p>Mkhize's response to DA MP Siviwe Gwarube's written parliamentary question, revealed that the scooter project that the Eastern Cape health department launched, did not meet the basic criteria for patient transport as an ambulance.&nbsp;<strong></strong></p>
Tap here for more

9h ago

Seven staff members close to Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina have tested positive for Covid-19, the mayor's office announced via a press release on Friday.

The seven confirmed cases include the following senior officials:

- A member of the mayoral committee;

- The Head of Department and

- The spokesperson to the mayor.

Masina’s results returned negative, his office announced.

"As a precautionary measure, the office of the executive mayor will be closed for decontamination and deep cleaning," the statement read.

Masina will be attending to all council business via virtual meeting platforms until further notice.

10h ago

Mkhize: The advent of dexamethasone is part of our protocols now. It is safe and useful in treatment.

10h ago

Mkhize: There is going to be lots of pressure on hospitals and beds. The pattern taken by the spread of the disease has meant we have had to make some changes to our strategy. We have a team looking at adding 2000 additional beds to field hospitals in Gauteng; the team is also working on oxygen points. Nasrec will have 1 000 oxygen points.

10h ago

Mkhize: The surge is upon us. We are here to see the level of preparations. Gauteng has surged to be the province with the highest number. This is not surprising [therefore] we have to be vigilant.

11h ago

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has tested positive for Covid-19

Statement from Premier David Makhura:

''On Wednesday 08 July 2020, I experienced some mild symptoms. On Thursday 09 July 2020, I decided to self-quarantine and test for Covid-19 as a precautionary measure.

Today, Friday 10 July 2020, I received my test results confirming that I have tested positive for Covid-19. I am now in self-isolation, in line with the WHO protocols and will work from home over the next 14 days whilst monitoring my health.  

Given the fact that I only have mild symptoms, I will continue to ensure that the Provincial Executive Council and Provincial Coronavirus Command Council respond adequately to weather the storm of the pandemic in order to save more lives.''

12h ago

WATCH | Grade 11 pupils who donated matric dance funds to the needy spark charity outreach at school

Grade 11 pupils at Rondebosch Boys' High raised R 11 000 for their matric dance during an event earlier this year, but instead donated the money to those in need due to Covid-19.

Read more here

12h ago

A 'switch in timing': Doctors' groups defend plea for financial help as patient numbers plunge

Doctors warn that many private practices may be forced to close down, which will impact patients' access to care during the pandemic and afterwards.

This is as patients opt not to visit doctors for non-emergency care during the outbreak. Ophthalmologists have been the hardest hit, with a 90% decline in patient numbers.

Doctors have proposed a payment plan to medical aids, which they say is not a bailout.

Read more

14h ago

The politics of school reopening: Opposition parties and ANC formations join ranks

The decision to reopen schools amid the increasing spread of the coronavirus has become political fodder.

While some political parties have called the plan murderous, even ANC formations have criticised Education Minister Angie Motshekga's plan.

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said politicians want the advantage of saying "I told you so" to government.

<p><strong>The politics of school reopening: Opposition parties and ANC formations join ranks</strong></p><p>The decision to reopen schools amid the increasing spread of the coronavirus has become political fodder.</p><p>While some political parties have called the plan murderous, even ANC formations have criticised Education Minister Angie Motshekga's plan.</p><p>Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said politicians want the advantage of saying "I told you so" to government.<strong></strong></p>
Qaanitah Hunter has the story

15h ago

Thousands may die daily from hunger due to Covid-19 - and SA is a new hunger hotspot

A new Oxfam report has warned that South Africa is joining the list of global hunger epicentres. 

The organisation estimates that by the end of the year, 12 000 people across the globe could die each day from hunger linked to Covid-19.

The report painted a grim picture of SA's rapidly rising food insecurity, flagging a spike in unemployment and loss of income, and slamming retailers that indulged in price gouging.

Fin24 has the story

16h ago

Coronavirus morning update: Latest on SA vaccine trial, and dept moves to clear up graves comments

A Covid-19 vaccine could become available in the first quarter of 2021; and the Gauteng health dept explains comments about 1.5 million graves ahead of Covid-19 spike.

GET THE HEALTH24 UPDATE

09 July 21:52

13 674 new coronavirus cases have been reported bringing the total to 238 339.

The total number of deaths is  3 720 after 129 new fatalities were reported on Thursday.



Here are some of our top stories:

Mkhize does a U-turn on Eastern Cape medical scooters

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has admitted medical scooters in the Eastern Cape - at a cost of R10 million - do not meet the basic criteria for "patient transport as an ambulance".

Mkhize announced this in response to a written Parliamentary question from DA MP Siviwe Gwarube who wanted details on whether the scooters were suitable for patient transport.

motorbike ambulances

(DrZweliMkize/Twitter)

Covid-19: This is the role traditional medicine practitioners can play - health dept

The Department of Health says the message to traditional health practitioners is to refer patients to the next level of care if they present symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

As the country fights the Covid-19 pandemic, the department says it is only an assumption – yet to be proven – that the majority of South Africans opt to see traditional healers before going to a medical doctor.

Gauteng is not digging 1.5 million graves - the number is the capacity available

Assessing burial capacity in Gauteng is part of the Covid-19 response plan, but is in no way a suggestion the deaths will reach that point.

These were the remarks made by Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku on Thursday as he sought to explain comments he made about the preparation of grave sites in the province.

Graves being prepared at the Honingnestkrans cemet

(Alex Mitchley/News24)

Proclamation to investigate irregularities in Covid-19 relief fund at advanced stage, says SIU

The Special Investigating Unit says the proclamation to authorise an investigation into allegations of irregularities and corruption in Covid-19 relief funds is at an advanced stage.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, said it was being processed with urgency and should be submitted to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola next week.

Africa could have Covid-19 vaccine early next year if human trials work - SA trial lead

Africa could have a Covid-19 vaccine in the first quarter of 2021 if human trials underway in South Africa succeed, a university professor heading the trials said on Thursday.

The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 experimental vaccine is one of 19 being tested on humans globally in a race to find vaccines to stop a pandemic that has killed more than half a million people so far.

Court agrees to hear bid by tobacco group for leave to appeal ruling that kept cigarettes banned

The High Court in Pretoria will next week hear an application by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association for leave to appeal a ruling that kept cigarettes banned.  

"We’ve just received confirmation from the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria that our application for leave to appeal the ruling of 26 June 2020 dismissing our cigarette ban challenge will be heard on the 15th of July 2020," said Sinen Mguni, chairperson of FITA, in a WhatsApp message to Fin24 on Thursday. 

EXPLAINER | What happened to the project to build 10 000 ventilators in SA by end of June?

An ambitious plan to build more than 10 000 ventilators in South Africa by the end of June to fill the shortage created by Covid-19 has been delayed by weeks due to regulatory issues.

The National Ventilator Project, launched to much fanfare in April, aimed to build non-invasive ventilators which mix pure oxygen with air and help get that mixture into patients' lungs by delivering it at higher than ambient pressure. 

09 July 21:24

African governments must ensure the masses get access, SA expert tells WHO

A top scientist, leading the study on South Africa's first Covid-19 trial, says no vaccine is going to made available freely because someone needs to eventually pay for it.

READ MORE

09 July 20:27

Gauteng is not digging 1.5 million graves - the number is the capacity available

Assessing burial capacity in Gauteng is part of the Covid-19 response plan, but is in no way a suggestion the deaths will reach that point.

These were the remarks made by Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku on Thursday as he sought to explain comments he made about the preparation of grave sites in the province.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

09 July 19:14

Africa could have a Covid-19 vaccine in the first quarter of 2021 if human trials underway in South Africa succeed, a university professor heading the trials said on Thursday.

The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 experimental vaccine is one of 19 being tested on humans globally in a race to find vaccines to stop a pandemic that has killed more than half a million people so far.

MORE HERE

09 July 19:07

Court agrees to hear bid by tobacco group for leave to appeal ruling that kept cigarettes banned

The High Court in Pretoria will next week hear an application by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association for leave to appeal a ruling that kept cigarettes banned. 

"We’ve just received confirmation from the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria that our application for leave to appeal the ruling of 26 June 2020 dismissing our cigarette ban challenge will be heard on the 15th of July 2020,"said Sinen Mguni, chairperson of FITA, in a WhatsApp message to Fin24 on Thursday. 

READ HERE

09 July 18:16

Covid-19: This is the role traditional medicine practitioners can play - health dept

The Department of Health says the message to traditional health practitioners (THP) is to refer patients to the next level of care if they present symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

"The message to THPs is to refer patients presenting with symptoms of coronavirus infection to the next level of care," health department spokesperson Popo Maja told News24.

The department has further placed on record that it values the contributions of THPs in the fight against Covid-19.

Tap here for the full story by Canny Maphanga

09 July 17:16

Mkhize does a U-turn on Eastern Cape medical scooters

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has admitted medical scooters in the Eastern Cape - at a cost of R10 million - do not meet the basic criteria for "patient transport as an ambulance".

Mkhize announced this in response to a written Parliamentary question from DA MP Siviwe Gwarube who wanted details on whether the scooters were suitable for patient transport.

By Jason Felix

09 July 17:16

SA cinemas still closed - amid a lack of new movies, uncertainty about new rules

While government gazetted the long-awaited rules this week that allow cinemas to reopen, there is no indication of when Nu-Metro and Ster-Kinekor will resume operations.

And there is still some uncertainty about how many people will be allowed in.

According to the new government regulations, cinemas and theatres are only allowed 50 people at a time (excluding staff).

But some in the industry say it is not clear whether this means per auditorium or in the whole cinema – across screening rooms.

Read the full story

09 July 16:49

Global coronavirus cases surge past 12 million

More than 12 million coronavirus infections have now been recorded across the world, over half in the United States and Latin America, according to an AFP tally on Thursday.

At least 12 063 425 cases and 549 451 deaths have been recorded, with the number of infections doubling since 31 May.

About half of those who caught the virus have recovered.

Read more

09 July 16:23

EXPLAINER | Why Covid-19 is called a pandemic and why it’s not just the typical flu

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March 2020.

But WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the declaration does not change how the organisation will deal with the threat the virus poses. 

Announcing the declaration in March, Ghebreyesus said the WHO did not use the word pandemic lightly or carelessly because if it was misused, it would lead to unreasonable fear. 

Explainer by James de Villiers

09 July 15:55

OPINION | It is time for leadership in the battle against Covid-19

More restrictions are needed as Gauteng, once more, becomes the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic, writes Mbhazima Shilowa.

I do not know why the national government abandoned its initial proposal of opening up the economy while keeping stricter restrictions in areas which are considered hotspots.

Maybe the noise from various premiers, trade unions and business gave them cold feet.

It is time to revisit that decision.Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize seems to have also given up on that idea. He hardly speaks about it. It is not enough to say the numbers are to be expected as we are fast approaching the peak.

<p><strong>OPINION |&nbsp;It is time for leadership in the battle against Covid-19</strong></p><p><em>More restrictions are needed as Gauteng, once more, becomes the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic, writes&nbsp;Mbhazima Shilowa.</em></p><p>I do not know why the national government abandoned its initial proposal of opening up the economy while keeping stricter restrictions in areas which are considered hotspots. </p><p>Maybe the noise from various premiers, trade unions and business gave them cold feet. </p><p>It is time to revisit that decision.Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize seems to have also given up on that idea. He hardly speaks about it. It is not enough to say the numbers are to be expected as we are fast approaching the peak.<em></em><strong></strong></p>
Full column

09 July 15:49

A day-by-day breakdown of Covid-19 symptoms shows how it goes from bad to worse

As doctors observe a growing number of coronavirus patients, they've identified a few patterns in how typical symptoms progress.

The majority of coronavirus cases are mild, but about 20% of cases become either severe or critical, according to data from the Chinese Center for Disease Control.

Most patients develop fever, a dry cough, and shortness of breath - the three most common symptoms of Covid-19.

But they can also experience fatigue, muscle or body aches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, and diarrhea.

Read more

09 July 13:28

Most SA houses are now worth less due to Covid, but these are selling at above asking price

In a new report, FNB predicts that property prices will fall by around 5% this year – but properties that cost less than R750 000 should be more resilient.

FNB analyst Siphamandla Mkhwanazi says while prices of houses above R750 000 should fall, relative resilience in the affordable market is expected.

In the past three months, only 39% of properties below R750 000 were sold below asking price – compared to a whopping 92% of pricier houses, an FNB survey among estate agents shows.

Read more

09 July 13:25

EXPLAINER | Is the lockdown still valid after court rulings?

The Liberty Fighters Network (LFN) said the lockdown was effectively over when a judge compelled Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to amend certain lockdown regulations, even though he granted her leave to appeal.

But legal experts say the lockdown regulations remain in place now that Dlamini-Zuma has been granted leave to appeal.

<p><strong>EXPLAINER | Is the lockdown still valid after court rulings?</strong></p><p>The Liberty Fighters Network (LFN)&nbsp;said the lockdown was effectively over&nbsp;when a judge compelled Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to amend certain lockdown regulations, even though he granted her leave to appeal.</p><p>But legal experts say the lockdown regulations remain in place now that Dlamini-Zuma has been granted leave to appeal.<strong></strong></p>
Tap here for more

09 July 11:48

80% of South Africans who contracted Covid-19 at work are women

Female workers represent more than 80% of all Covid-19 claims received by the Compensation Fund from employees who contracted the disease on the job, the department of employment and labour said in a statement.

Many of these were nurses and other medical staff.

Read more on Business Insider SA

09 July 11:45

Head of Department among positive cases in Gauteng's Covid-19 war room

The Gauteng Department of Health on Thursday announced that six members of the provincial health Covid-19 war room have tested positive for the virus.

"Among the positive [cases] includes the Head of Department, Professor Mkhululi Lukhele," the department announced via a press release. 

"All the colleagues are doing well and are self-isolating at home." 

09 July 11:09

Grave concern: Gauteng prepares cemeteries as Covid-19 numbers surge in province

Burial sites around Gauteng have started preparing graves and assessing its capacity, in order to make provisions for any outcome as Covid-19 cases in the province increase sharply. 

Gauteng's Health MEC, Dr Bandile Masuku, visited the Honingnestkrans cemetery north of Pretoria on Wednesday, to assess the state of readiness should the burial site be needed.

City of Tshwane operations chief James Murphy told Masuku the Honingnestkrans cemetery has space for 24 000 single graves on the 30 hectare plot of land.

Tap here for more

09 July 07:31

Gauteng overtakes Western Cape as SA's coronavirus hotspot

Gauteng has officially overtaken the Western Cape as the country's coronavirus hotspot with the highest number of cases cumulatively, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced late on Wednesday.

Read more

09 July 06:29

In the last 24 hours, 8 810 new infections have been confirmed, taking the total positive cases to 224 665.

100 new deaths bring SA's Covid-19 death toll to 3 602: 2 from Limpopo, 18 from KwaZulu-Natal, 15 from Mpumalanga, 18 from Eastern Cape, 47 from Western Cape. 

The number of recoveries is 106 842, which translates to a recovery rate of 47,5%.

Gauteng now has the most cases in SA with 75 015 cases.

09 July 05:45

Coronavirus morning update: Storm 'is now arriving', and Western Cape premier tests positive

The health minister says the Covid-19 storm is approaching; and the Western Cape premier is self-isolating after confirming he tested positive for the virus.

GET THE FULL HEALTH24 UPDATE

09 July 05:43

Extension tension – can President Ramaphosa afford to tighten lockdown rules?

With South Africa's Covid-19 cases having officially breached the 200 000 mark, everyone's eyes are on what President Cyril Ramaphosa's administration will do to get a grip on the health crisis and how it will feed into an economy in its deepest winter since the 1920s.

READ THE FULL STORY ON FIN24
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