Neighbourly Notes – 16 July 2020

SCHOOL SAFETY: Making certain that all safety protocols are exercised, young Emma van Zyl has her temperature taken and hands sanitised as she waits in line to continue Grade 1 at Port Alfred High School on Tuesday morning. Her dad, Johan, said she was first to be admitted and was ‘keen and ready, one of the resilient little kids’

IT has been 112 days since the national lockdown began and on Sunday evening President Cyril Ramaphosa announced new regulations and further restrictions. Though the country remains at level 3, it is now a punishable offence not to wear masks when in public. Initially, the appointed compliance officer at the office, shops or public buildings will be held liable for those entering if not wearing masks, but the stated intention is to make not wearing a mask in public a criminal offence.

ALCOHOL was also banned once again in Ramaphosa’s address. We know that the previous ban saw a huge reduction in road accidents but that might rather have been a result of the ban on ravel during the level 5 lockdown regulations. Yet the government tends not to back up its reasoning for implementing or relaxing certain regulations. For example, taxis may now load up to 100% for local travel. Taxis must be considered mobile incubation units for any form of virus no matter how sanitary they are made at journey’s start or end. At the same time, casinos and restaurants are not allowed the same privilege. The government needs to work with actual scientific evidence and see what is happening in the world, and not make decisions based on the personal opinions and interpretations of the Covid-19 command council. We are now learning that the virus may be airborne and that is a very different matter as, if verified, the virus can travel much further in micro-droplets from sneezing or coughing. That would make most mask almost pointless. This type of global pandemic is the first in 100 years, since the Spanish Flu in 1918 infected an estimated 500 million (or one third of the world population at the time) with an estimated death toll of 50 million or 10% of those infected. But with herd immunity that has been built up from previous coronavirus outbreaks such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and much more sophisticated means of tracking a virus than 100 years ago, looking at the global recovery rate thus far (see, Covid-19 is nowhere close to the Spanish Flu.

OUR hopes that load-shedding might be a thing of the past, particularly since Eskom had apparently been working hard on maintenance, together with the reduction in power demands during lockdown, have been dashed. It is therefore not surprising that South Africans are upset. We were told load-shedding would only be implemented at level 1 for three days during the winter months this year, but were only given an 80% chance of this. We are now living in the 20% unknown portion and it is likely that further load-shedding will be implemented. Even given the cold spell being experienced all around the country, the demand on our electricity supply is far less today that at the same time last year. Given that, imagine the trouble the country would have experienced if not for Covid-19. Eskom is a critical part of the South African economy and a lack of electricity will further hamper businesses that are already struggling, having only recently been able to reopen.

HOW do our local business owners and staff feel about the new regulations? How do you feel about the new alcohol ban and enforcing the wearing of masks in public? Let us know by writing to us or sending us an e-mail (addresses on our letters page).

CONGRATULATIONS on another year and very happy birthday wishes to everyone celebrating such an occasion in the coming week, especially Taryn Gutsche, Ed Gutsche, Alice Torr, Marlene Tarrant, Delene Hawkins, Oliver Davies, Peter Pinnick, Gilbert Coetzee, Melissa Tweedie, Audrey Geyer, Marion Bartlett, Len Eaton, Heather Grimbeek, Chante van der Merwe, Dave Cockcroft, Janet Thatcher, Val Human, Adriaan Potgieter, Stephanie Forward, Douglas Haig, Vukile Balura, Clifford Dell, Leonora Goodwin, Roy Guest, Pumeza Maronya, Matthew van der Schyff, Barbara Matthews, Maureen Thierson, Alex van der Merwe, Richard Legg, Angela King, Kerry Butt, Eric Taylor, Russell Geard, Rose Hare-Bowers, Mavis Venables, Janet Basson.

BUSINESS anniversary wishes and best wishes for your continuing success to all having an anniversary, especially L&W Couriers and OK Furniture.

THE South African economy is taking a huge hit at the moment and initiatives by government are not assisting with the extreme poverty in the country. Even those who were previously considered financially secure are having to find some way of stalling the payment of bills to survive. The load-shedding introduced by Eskom last week could be the nail in the coffin for the country in terms of investment. With 2019’s figures in brackets to compare against and when going to press, the rand was trading at R16.82/USD (R13.87), R21.07/£ (R17.23) and R19.09/ß (R15.56). Gold was at $1,801.34 per fine ounce ($1,413.82), Platinum was at $848.55 per ounce ($737.83) and Brent Crude Oil at $43.08 per barrel ($66.54).

SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all who are not well, having or have already had tests, operations and treatments. Sterkte Roy Potter, Andrew de Vries, Emilene Bruwer, Jenny Groenewald, Jan Haig and Bev Young.

WEDDING anniversary greetings and best wishes for many more years of love and happiness to everyone having a wedding anniversary, especially Claude and Susan Mclellan, and Andrew and Isobel Meyer.

THOUGHT for the week: “A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future and accepts you today just the way you are.”

BEST regards as always, The

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