COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | Mkhize: ‘Don’t smoke and don’t drink!’

The number of South Africans infected with Covid-19 is more than 3000.
Image: 123RF/lightwise
April 18 2020 – 21:40

Too soon to speculate about lockdown extension

Asked whether a partial easing of the lockdown was being considered, Mkhize said it was too soon to speculate.

“Whenever a decision is taken, the president comes out and makes the decision very clear.”

April 18 2020 – 21:33

How do you balance the spread of the virus versus widespread hunger?

Every day when the command council meets, this matter gets discussed, said Mkhize.

“There’s a huge amount of debate that goes on… we are very conscious of how all of these have a negative impact on the economy and food security.”

“It’s a balance that is always going to be very tricky… there has to be interventions not to have our people suffer from hunger.

“It’s an issue that’s a challenge to us.”

April 18 2020 – 21:23

Why the ban on cigarettes and alcohol?

Mkhize said cigarettes had a negative impact on people’s health.

“In general terms, we would really discourage people from smoking.”

Turning to alcohol, he said its impact reduced an individual’s capacity.

“It is not something that is helpful to prevent infection… less alcohol improves the health of individuals.”

April 18 2020 – 21:12

What is the average daily rate of local transmissions?

On Monday, it was said that if the average daily rate of infections went over 90 per day this past week, the lockdown may be extended.

Asked about that on Saturday evening, Mkhize said the latest numbers were still being analysed but there had been no dramatic change in the figures.

“There is not an indication of a huge change… There wasn’t much of a change from the figures that they had from last week to this week.”

April 18 2020 – 21:03

Nearly 1m South Africans have been screened

A total of 900 000 people in South Africa have been screened, and those displaying possible symptoms were sent for tests, said Mkhize, adding that about 11 000 were referred for testing.

April 18 2020 – 20:46

More people are being tested

Over the past few weeks, “we have been increasing the number of people being tested”, Mkhize said.

Initially, a large number of tests were being done in the private sector but as time went on, the number of public tests started increasing.

“Two weeks ago, we would have been doing about 1000 tests in a day in the public sector.”

Over the past few days, that number has gone up to more 5000 tests in the public sector per day.

In the past 24 hours, more than 7000 tests had been done.

Our infection level is not as high as other countries, he said. For every one person that tests positive, South Africa would have done 38 tests.

“I’m satisfied with the level of the growth in numbers…. [but] we believe many more people have to be tested.”

April 18 2020 – 20:46

Health minister Zweli Mkhize announces two more deaths

The total number of Covid-19 infections on Saturday evening stood at 3034 with two new deaths, health minister Zweli Mkhize said.

This brings the total number of deaths to 52.

This is out of the 108 021 tests that have been conducted to date.

The provincial breakdowns are as follows:

Gauteng – 1101

Western Cape – 836

KZN – 604

Eastern Cape – 270

Free State – 100

Limpopo – 26

North West – 24

Mpumalanga – 25

Northern Cape – 16

April 18 2020 – 18:18

Public protector’s office denies flouting lockdown rules with ‘small’ meeting

Some residents of Honeydew, west of Johannesburg, have accused Public Protector  Busisiwe Mkhwebane of flouting lockdown rules by holding a public meeting, but her office says they were just doing their job.

Several sources contacted TimesLIVE, claiming that Mkhwebane was in the area on Friday and held a public meeting related to housing issues with a group of people who had been evicted from a nearby plot, and was flouting the lockdown regulations prohibiting gatherings.

Local ward councillor Leah Knott said she was aware of the meeting but did not attend because she was not invited. However, she did say that the meeting had caused tension in the area because some of the residents felt the public protector would bypass the City of Johannesburg’s housing processes and that preference for houses would be given to those with whom Mkhwebane’s office had met.

April 18 2020 – 16:20

How organised crime is exploiting Covid-19

They were born in crisis, moulded by it, and SA’s organised criminals are likely to thrive while many people are counting rands and cents to make sure they can afford to eat for the next two weeks.

According to experts from the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime, underworld bosses are likely to exploit new opportunities as the double shock of the Covid-19 induced lockdown and post-lockdown recession rock the country, and the world, to its core.

Over the past few weeks in Mitchells Plain drug houses were visited by addicts carrying essential services permits, this according to TimesLIVE sources.

April 18 2020 – 16:19

Bar fight goes on after confirmation of lockdown ban, says booze industry

The alcohol industry is refusing to take the continuing lockdown booze ban lying down.

On Saturday, the Gauteng Liquor Forum sent an angry reply to the State Attorney, which informed it on Friday of the National Command Council’s decision to reject its request for a relaxation of the ban.

The forum said it would not go through with its threat of legal action, because the courts would be unable to rule by April 30 when the lockdown is due to end after five weeks.

April 18 2020 3:19

Local transmissions rise as Western Cape infections top 800

Local transmissions of Covid-19 are increasing, Western Cape premier Alan Winde said on Saturday as he announced a 9.3% leap in cases since Friday.

April 18 2020 – 12:43

Manganese mining company Tshipi donates R5m to Solidarity Fund

Manganese mining company Tshipi é Ntle has announced it is donating R5m to the Solidarity Fund set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa in response to the devastating effects of the coronavirus.

Saki Macozoma, chair of the company’s board of directors, said the pandemic has had a considerable impact on all sectors of society, including mining, and applauded the work of government leadership.

April 18 2020 – 11:32

Matric supplementary exams will be merged with the November 2020 exams

More than 350,000 candidates who were due to write the amended senior certificate (old matric) and national senior certificate supplementary examinations in May and June, will only be able to write their exams at the end of the year.

April 18 2020 – 11:23

A second Port Elizabeth Woolworths Foods store employee has tested positive for Covid-19

Woolworths spokesperson Kirsten Hewett said the retailer had since decided to close the store.

“Last night we were notified that another member of our Access Park store team has also tested positive for the virus,” she said.

The worker is currently in isolation at home, recovering.

April 18 2020 -11:20

Life Healthcare seeing increase in Covid-19 cases at its hospitals

Private hospital group Life Healthcare says a “growing number” of patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 are being admitted to its facilities.

Among the latest are two people in Durban who contracted the virus and are in isolation at Chatsmed Gardens Hospital in Chatsworth, which is part of Life Healthcare.

Dr Charl van Loggerenberg, general manager of emergency medicine at Life Healthcare, confirmed the two cases and said they were being treated in a dedicated Covid-19 ward within the facility.

April 18 2020 -11:00

Viruses and the brain 

It isn’t completely surprising to scientists that SARS-CoV-2 might impact the brain and nervous system, since this has been documented in other viruses, including HIV, which can cause cognitive decline if untreated.

April 18 2020 – 10:45

New York governor attacks Trump for ‘passing buck’ on pandemic response

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday launched a blistering attack on President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis, accusing him of “passing the buck” to the states and favoring big business over communities hardest hit.

Cuomo, who had previously kept his criticism of Trump in check, unleashed a flurry of broadsides following a reporter’s question about the president’s comments suggesting New York had asked for too much aid that was never fully used.

April 18 2020 – 10:28

US surpasses 700,000 coronavirus cases: tracker

The United States on Friday passed 700,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

With the highest number of cases and deaths of any country in the world, the US had recorded 700,282 cases of COVID-19 and 36,773 deaths as of 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Friday), according to the Baltimore-based university.

That marked an increase of 3,856 deaths in the past 24 hours, but that figure likely includes “probable” virus-linked deaths, which had not previously been counted.

This week, New York City said it would add 3,778 “probable” virus deaths to its official count.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave a toll Friday night of 33,049 dead, including 4,226 probable virus-linked deaths.

The United States has seen the highest death toll in the world in the coronavirus pandemic, ahead of Italy (22,745 deaths) although its population is just a fifth of that of the US.

Spain has recorded 19,478 deaths, followed by France with 18,681. AFP

April 18 2020 – 10:06

April 18 2020 – 10:04

April 18 2020 – 09:21

Global virus deaths pass 150,000 as Trump says China hiding toll

COVID-19 fatalities mounted in the United States and hard-hit Western Europe countries, but fresh data on rising infections and deaths in Africa showed the virus is leaving no continent uscathed in its global march.

More than half of humanity — 4.5 billion people — were confined to their homes, with evidence mounting of social distancing’s success in slowing the pandemic.

April 18 2020 – 09:15

Suddenly jobless Americans face dilemma

“Looking at my finances, it was, ‘do I give the last little bit of my money to my landlord — who has a billion-dollar corporation — or do I save this for necessities like food and health care?'” said Thomas, who lives in Oakland in the San Francisco Bay area.

Thomas is participating in a “rent strike” with four other residents in her building, a growing movement across the US among people who face the same dilemma.

“I risk a lot,” said Thomas, but “I don’t have a choice but to strike.”



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