Covid-19 live updates: 'Taxis to operate for 8 hours a day during lockdown'
Taxis to operate for 8 hours a day during lockdown: Mbalula
You will only be able to use public transport for eight hours a day to get essential items such as food and medicine once the national lockdown kicks in.
Speaking on Wednesday at a justice and crime prevention security cluster press briefing, transport minister Fikile Mbalula said public transport would only be available 5am and 9am, and 4pm and 8pm.
E-hailing services such as Uber, Bolt and metered taxis would also be allowed to operate, under the same arrangements made for minibus taxis.
10 key questions about the Covid-19 lockdown answered
Midnight on Thursday will mark the start of a new period of uncertainty as South Africans adapt to life under a nationwide lockdown in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We answer 10 key questions that are on most people's minds at the moment.
Italy deaths rise by 683 in a day
The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has grown by 683 to 7,503, the Civil Protection Agency said on Wednesday, a decline in the daily tally of fatalities following a spike the day before.
On Tuesday 743 people died. That followed 602 deaths on Monday, 650 on Sunday and a record of 793 on Saturday -- the highest daily figure since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21.
The total number of confirmed cases in Italy rose to 74,386 from a previous 69,176, the Civil Protection Agency said.
The police will pounce on you if found at any these 'closed' places
If you do not want to be on the wrong side of minister Bheki Cele's men and women during the 21-day Covid-19 lockdown, stay at home.
This was the advice of the minister as he announced a long list of places where no human being will be allowed during the lockdown.
Even if you are the owner of any of the places ordered to close, you will also be dealt with. This will include restaurants, which are prohibited from opening their doors.
No selling of alcohol at all during lockdown - Bheki Cele
"For 21 days, please stay sober."
This was the message from police minister Bheki Cele on Wednesday, as he unpacked how the women and men in blue will enforce order when the national lockdown kicks in at midnight on Thursday.
Cele announced a myriad of places that will remain closed during the national lockdown, but emphasised the need for the country to resist alcohol.
READ IN FULL | Cele on how police will enforce national lockdown
On Wednesday, police minister Bheki Cele explained how police would enforce the national 21-day lockdown.
Among other things, he said no alcohol would be allowed for the three-week period, people would not be allowed to leave home without valid reason, and that failure to follow the rules would result in a fine or a prison sentence.
'There shall be no dogs that will be walked': Bheki Cele
Can you walk your dog during lockdown? No! The government's message on this has shifted.
On Wednesday morning, health minister Zweli Mkhize said on SABC that South Africans would be able to walk their dogs and go for "short jogs" during the lockdown. But police minister Bheki Cele contradicted this message on Wednesday evening during a briefing by the security cluster, saying there will be no dog walking "except in the house".
Zim doctors, nurses go on strike over health concerns
Health professionals in Zimbabwe’s public hospitals have announced the withdrawal of their services in the fight against Covid-19 because their concerns have not received the “urgency they deserve”.
In a letter addressed to the Health Services Board, the Zimbabwe Nurses Association on Monday demanded that they should be given a “coronavirus risk allowance” and protective clothing, and that water should be made available at all health institutions.
But by the end of day of Wednesday, Zina said none of their demands had been met.
There shall be no dogs that will be walked!— Scapegoat (@AndiMakinana) March 25, 2020
- Minister Bheki Cele
Mantashe expects Eskom to keep the lights on for 21-day lockdown
Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe says Eskom is expected to keep the lights on during the nationwide lockdown even though some of its suppliers might scale down production.
Mantashe said the industry also stood ready to help the government with additional beds and quarantine sites should the need arise.
Mantashe said Eskom would be under less strain during the lockdown due to lower demand for electricity.
Classroom and Easter services will come to your TV during lockdown
Minister of communications and digital technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has announced that the government will broadcast school lessons to ensure that education continues during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Ndabeni-Abrahams also said the SABC would dedicate one of its channels to broadcast Easter-related programmes.
Lotto donates R50m to Covid-19 solidarity fund
The National Lotteries Commission has allocated R50m to the government's solidarity fund to help cushion the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on South Africans.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the formation of the fund two days ago, in addition to the R1bn each pledged by the Oppenheimer and Rupert families to support small businesses during the crisis.
Mbalula hints at lockdown looming for taxis, buses and trains
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula provided some insight on Wednesday into how the looming lockdown would affect public transport in the country.
He said it was envisaged that minibus taxis would be allowed to operate for a limited time during morning and afternoon peak hours to ferry people authorised to move around, such as essential-services personnel.
“A lockdown is a lockdown ... There will be special catering for public transport, we will deal with the details later on in terms of taxis. We’re looking at allocating time for the operation of taxis in the morning peak and in the afternoon. During the day it will be lockdown,” he said in an interview with Radio 702.
“Trains, we’re looking at not operating at all. Long distance has been shut down in terms of Shosholoza Meyl ... We are looking at intensifying in the aviation sector that airlines from affected countries should not come to South Africa.”
Gauteng's homeless to be housed at schools during lockdown: Lesufi
Gauteng's government is planning to move homeless people, who largely depend on begging to survive, into public schools for the duration of the 21-day lockdown.
Addressing the media with cabinet colleagues on Wednesday, education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the provincial government had identified a number of schools with boarding facilities to house the homeless.
Stellenbosch council offers payment holiday to hardest-hit ratepayers
Ratepayers in Stellenbosch who can prove that their income has been hit by the coronavirus crisis will get a three-month rates holiday, councillors decided at an emergency meeting on Wednesday.
“Once the crisis is over, the municipality will work with applicants to repay the principal outstanding debt on reasonable terms and without the accrual of any new interest,” said MP Leon Schreiber, the DA constituency head for Stellenbosch.
Mining operations will be scaled down, particularly deep level mining... Mines supplying coal to Eskom will remain in operation, albeit at reduced production levels. Services being rendered to communities, such as supply of water, will continue.— Gwede Mantashe (@GwedeMantashe1) March 25, 2020
#Covid19SA #SouthAfricaLockdown pic.twitter.com/W4lFXJPQ23
Ladysmith Covid-19 patient arrested for not self quarantining
A Ladysmith salon owner who tested positive for coronavirus has been charged with attempted murder, for continuing to work at his business and disregarding an instruction to self quarantine.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said a list of 27 people, who were at the salon, and a religious gathering, are being sought for testing after coming into contact with the 52-year-old man.
KZN campsite owner pitches tents for free use by the state
A campsite owner in northern KwaZulu-Natal has invited the state to make use of his facility, free of charge, during the 21-day lockdown period.
Thokozani Mabaso, 42, the owner of Ngodini Bunduz – an adventure and games campsite, situated along the Mlathuze river outside eShowe – has pitched 30 of his own tents for use by the army or health care workers.
'We have been flooded with calls': government on food delivery services during lockdown
The department of tourism has reiterated its stance on the operation of food delivery services saying on Wednesday that they would not be allowed to operate during the 21-day nationwide lockdown.
Several food delivery services have informed customers they will still offer a service during the shutdown there appeared to be confusion over whether some would be exempt or not.
“We have been flooded with calls seeking clarity on this and have maintained that all food delivery services will not be permitted to operate and will need to close down as they have not been included on the list of what has been deemed essential services,” the department's spokesperson Hlengiwe Nhlabathi said on Wednesday.
Prince Charles self-isolating at home after testing positive for Covid-19
Prince Charles has tested positive for the new coronavirus, his office said on Wednesday.
The 71-year-old is displaying mild symptoms of Covid-19 "but otherwise remains in good health", Clarence House said in a statement.
The Duchess of Cornwall has also been tested for the virus but the results are negative, Sky News reported.
Zweli Mkhize answers questions about SA's lockdown
Health minister Zweli Mkhize talked about the lockdown and how the coronavirus spreads on Wednesday morning. Further details are expected in the afternoon during the security cluster briefing, but this is what he said.
'It's worse than Christmas': car guard on panic buying
Payday brought with it a flurry of panic buyers, who rushed to retail outlets across Durban on Wednesday morning before the lockdown was implemented.
Members of the public queued outside, trolleys at the ready, while security officers restricted the number of people allowed into stores, in line with government's regulation of not more than 100 people being allowed to gather in one place.
Boss gives staff Netflix subscriptions, early salaries to ease lockdown stress
As many businesses panic about surviving the coronavirus lockdown, a digital consultancy and marketing firm in Johannesburg has sent staff home with an early payday and Netflix subscriptions to keep them occupied for the next 21 days.
Rebecca Karlovic, who joined the company in Fourways at the beginning of March, shared the good news on social media.
You should still be able to walk the dog and jog during lockdown, says Zweli Mkhize
Health minister Zweli Mkhize offered a ray of hope to SA’s dog owners and runners on Wednesday morning, saying these activities would be permitted during the three-week national lockdown, which begins at midnight on Thursday.
The lockdown announced by Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night is intended to limit contact between people as much as possible and is focused on ending the mingling of large groups of people, said Mkhize.
However, people would still be able to go for a jog, or walk their dog, he said.
During the #SouthAfricaLockdown all essential businesses will remain open. We will make sure that the entire energy supply chain is working to avoid loadshedding. https://t.co/OLxhZKjLSB #CoronavirusInSouthAfrica #Codiv19 pic.twitter.com/BcfcAXWTJ4— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) March 25, 2020
Gran celebrates 96th birthday while social distancing
A Fish Hoek woman's family were not on the fence on how to celebrate her 96th birthday, instead they were behind it.
Betty Tilling's grandchildren and great-grandchildren celebrated her birthday “from afar” while practising social distancing on Sunday.
This is Dr Standaar. He is working round the clock, saving lives in the midst of COVID-19. Be like him. Save lives BY STAYING AT HOME and let's #StopTheSpread. Call National/Provincial hotline: 0800 029 999 or 021 928 4102 or visit https://t.co/JUIMsosqG5 for more info. pic.twitter.com/Y579a9QVFG— Western Cape Gov (@WesternCapeGov) March 25, 2020
Covid-19 cases jump to 709 in SA
Health minister Zweli Mkhize has announced that the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 has increased to 709 cases overnight.
There was an increase of 155 cases in a day up from 554 from Tuesday.
Eloquent Designs is doing its part by making face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. On March 19 2020, the furniture manufacturing company based in Nancefield, Johannesburg, decided to start manufacturing face masks.
Hospital visits suspended from today: Netcare
All visiting hours for general wards, ICUs and high care units will be suspended with immediate effect, hospital group Netcare announced on Wednesday.
“In light of the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, we needed to take extraordinary measures to protect all health care teams and our patients who cannot be discharged,” said Dr Richard Friedland, Netcare CEO.
Coronavirus lockdown in SA: Mzansi has questions about 'midnight'
The hashtag #Thursdaymidnight is trending on Twitter as many grapple with when the national lockdown will come into effect.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday that SA would be on national lockdown which will take effect on Thursday, March 26 at midnight. Thursday midnight will be at 00:00. This means Friday, March 27 is the first day of the shutdown.
PICTURES | SA shoppers ignore pleas to stop panic buying and stockpiling
It has been less than 48 hours since President Cyril Ramaphosa urged South Africans not to stockpile ahead of the coronavirus lockdown.
Despite the plea, chain stores such as Checkers, Pick n Pay and Makro have seen shoppers filling up their trolleys and breaking social-distancing protocols.