COVID-19 WRAP | 'SA infections could increase to 1,500 in a few days'

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: GCIS

26 March 2020 - 8:46pm

SA Covid-19 infections could increase to 1,500 in a few days: Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appealed to the SA National Defence Force to avoid the use of force as SA enters 21 days of lockdown.

Addressing over 600 soldiers at the Doornkop army base in the south of Johannesburg, Ramaphosa said that while the Covid-19 infection rate stood at 927 on Thursday night, it could increase to 1,500 over the course of a few days.

“This is not a moment for skop en donder. This is not a moment for skiet en donder,” the president said.

26 March 2020 - 8:01pm

Eskom expects no load-shedding as demand drops during lockdown

Eskom does not expect to implement load-shedding during the Covid-19 national lockdown, which is to start on midnight on Thursday.

“Demand for electricity has dropped by more than 6,000MW on Thursday afternoon, with further demand reduction anticipated during the lockdown,” Eskom said in a statement.

Eskom said to protect the integrity of the system, it had started taking some generation units off the grid.

26 March 2020 - 8:00pm

Last-minute 'exodus' as commuters leave Joburg before national lockdown

With just hours left before the national lockdown, the N3 has been flooded with last-minute travellers trying to make their way out of Gauteng before the clock strikes midnight.

N3 toll concession spokesperson Con Roux said that the road, which connects KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, the Free State and Mpumalanga, had received an influx of people by lunchtime on Thursday.

26 March 2020 - 7:30pm

SA Covid-19 infections now at 927

The number of Covid-19 cases in South Africa has risen by 218 in a day, bringing the total to 927.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday afternoon that there were more than 900 cases. Addressing the media at the Reserve Bank following a virtual meeting of the G20, Ramaphosa said South Africa was the most affected country in Africa.

“We now have more than 900 people who are infected, as the minister of health told me, and we fear that it might rise even further than that,” he said.

26 March 2020 - 6:40pm

Lockdown can be extended if rules are not obeyed, warns Alan Winde

SA's 21-day lockdown may need to be extended if people do not heed the call to stay at home, according to Western Cape premier Alan Winde.

In a statement released after a virtual media conference on Thursday, Winde said only a collective effort would save SA from a coronavirus worst-case scenario.

“It needs each and every one of us to do our bit by staying in our homes,” Winde said. “If we all do this, we will be able to go back to our lives again and start to rebuild our economy. If we do not, and the virus continues to spread, many people will die, and the lockdown may be extended.

26 March 2020 - 6:30pm

Bad news for rural pupils as Motshekga unpacks lockdown plan for schools

Rural schools pupils will be left in limbo by the interventions the department of education will implement to “save the year” during the lockdown, most of which will be done through information and communications technology (ICT) platforms.

That's according to basic education minister Angie Motshekga, who said it was “out of our control” that some rural pupils did not have access to television and the internet.

Motshekga announced that learning and teaching would continue during lockdown via lessons broadcast on television, radio and online.

26 March 2020 - 5:53pm

Covid-19 infections now at 927

The number of Covid-19 cases in South Africa has risen by 218 in a day, bringing the total to 927. President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday afternoon: “We now have more than 900 people who are infected, as the minister of health told me, and we fear that it might rise even further than that."

A short while later, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said in a statement: "As of today [Thursday], the confirmed cases of Covid-19 in South Africa have risen by 218. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 927."

26 March 2020 - 5:36pm

Only two people may be in a private car during lockdown

Only two people will be allowed in a private car during the coronavirus lockdown.

This was confirmed by the transport department as part of Covid-19 safety guidelines.

When asked how many people can be in a private car, the department said simply: “Two: driver and the passenger.”

26 March 2020 - 4:52pm

Ramaphosa calls on South Africans to be patient ahead of national lockdown

President Cyril Rapahosa has called on South Africans to be patient and to show solidarity to one another as the country prepares for the 21-day lockdown.

26 March 2020 - 4:35pm

Thirty companies being investigated for hiking prices linked to Covid-19

Thirty companies are being investigated for price gouging linked to the coronavirus outbreak.

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) is investigating 19 retailers, while the Competition Commission is investigating 11.

“The NCC through its call centre received a number of complaints of excessive price hikes on items like hand sanitisers, facial masks; Detoll and toilet paper, among others, from consumers,” it said.

26 March 2020 - 3:20pm

Food shelves cleaned out, so booze stockpiling is next

South Africans are not only stocking up on essential household items like food but also on alcohol ahead of the 21-day lockdown.

The lockdown is government's attempt to contain the spread of Covid-19 as the number of cases have been rising at an alarming rate. The country is currently sitting on 709 cases of the coronavirus with Gauteng being the epicentre.

Thousands of South Africans rushed to liquor stores after police minister Bheki Cele said there would be no trading of alcohol during the three-week lockdown.

26 March 2020 - 1:45pm

Evangelist pastor Angus Buchan tests positive for Covid-19

Evangelist pastor Angus Buchan has tested positive for Covid-19.

"After speaking to my private physician this morning – who has been in contact with the laboratory that holds our results, we received greater clarity on our results. We had indeed tested positive for the Coronavirus. However we are not showing symptoms and are in good health."

IMPORTANT UPDATE 26/03/2020 After speaking to my private physician this morning – who has been in contact with the...

Posted by Angus Buchan on Thursday, 26 March 2020

26 March 2020 - 14:11

Call for neighbours to report domestic abuse: Covid-19 lockdown

Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu has urged communities to report incidents of violence and abuse against women and children during the lockdown.

The country will at midnight on Thursday go into a lockdown for 21 days.

Zulu said during an eNCA interview that her department welcomed police minister Bheki Cele's decision to prohibit the sale of alcohol during the lockdown.

“We welcome the decision. We appreciate and understand exactly what happens when people consume a lot of alcohol and go home.”

26 March 2020 - 12:58

Lotto winner will have to wait 21 days to claim R7.4m prize

A player who won the R7.4m Lotto jackpot on Wednesday will most likely have to wait until after the coronavirus lockdown to claim the money.

This as national lottery operator Ithuba on Thursday announced a shutdown of its offices amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“During the lockdown, our head office and all regional offices will be closed. This means that no winners will be able to claim their winnings at any of our offices. Players should not be anxious about this because all winning tickets have a lifespan of 365 days. It is therefore imperative that players keep their tickets safe until they can claim,” Ithuba said.

Those with smaller winnings could claim from supermarkets remaining open during the lockdown.

South Africans are stocking up on alcohol ahead of the 21-day lockdown on March 26 2020.
South Africans are stocking up on alcohol ahead of the 21-day lockdown on March 26 2020.

26 March 2020 - 12:15

'One working tap' for 2,000 households as lockdown looms

Two thousand shacks, only “one working tap” — and now lockdown.

That is the reality for those living in Port Elizabeth’s Nomakanjani informal settlement.

Though the large community has eight taps — too few even if they are all working — only one is said to be functional, meaning residents have to queue, sometimes for hours, to fill their water bottles and buckets.

As SA moves closer towards a national lockdown at midnight on Thursday in an attempt to contain the spread of coronavirus, residents in Nomakanjani are wondering how they will cope, reports HeraldLIVE.

26 March 2020 - 12:04

WATCH | Throwback of Madiba handwashing video has never been more relatable

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has re-released a 2003 handwashing-campaign video by the department of human settlements, water and sanitation featuring Madiba.

The throwback opens with a jug of water being poured over a schoolchild’s hands as an adult helps him lather them up with soap.

“Everybody should practice good hygiene,” said Mandela, as he is revealed to be the person helping the child and, in a touching moment, dries off his hands.

26 March 2020 - 11:00

President Cyril Ramaphosa tests negative for Covid-19

President Cyril Ramaphosa has tested negative for Covid-19 after speculation that he may have come into contact with someone who had it.

The president said on Thursday it was decided to make the test results public and reassure the nation that he is in good health.

“The president submitted for testing as a precautionary measure upon the advice of his physicians on Tuesday March 24 2020 and received his results last night [Wednesday],” Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, said.

26 March 2020 - 09:50

Walking dogs during lockdown is 'rubbish', says Julius Malema; government U-turns

EFF leader Julius Malema was unimpressed after health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize's said people would be allowed to walk their dogs during the 21-day lockdown from midnight on Thursday to April 16.

Mkhize said this during an interview on eNCA on Wednesday.

“You can walk, you can walk with your dog, you can jog, but do it with a good distance between you [and the next person]

However, government U-turned on the decision, with police minister Bheki Cele saying: “There shall be no dogs that shall be walked. The cluster met and we agreed that it doesn't enhance the call made by the president [Cyril Ramaphosa].

Malema was not impressed.

26 March 2020 - 08:51

Here are some of the schools at which Gauteng's vulnerable will be helped

The Gauteng government has put in place measures to deliver aid to the homeless, abused women and indigent pupils during the 21-day lockdown period that starts at midnight on Thursday.

“In a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, Gauteng provincial government will use existing social infrastructure to work in partnerships to develop solutions that will address homelessness. The province will divert resources to bolster social services support to the homeless through using existing school infrastructure,” said acting social development MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

The department has identified 30 schools for social support services that are categorised into central, eastern, northern and western corridors.

26 March 2020 - 08:12

President Cyril Ramaphosa calls for national day of prayer on Thursday

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the country to observe a national day of prayer on Thursday, as citizens prepare to go into lockdown at midnight.

“I call on all our people, whether they are religious or not, wherever they are, on Thursday March 26 to observe a moment of silence in a show of social solidarity,” Ramaphosa said on Twitter.

He encouraged people to spend two minutes in prayer, reflection or silent meditation between 6pm and 6.30pm.

“I call on our people to offer a prayer and a thought for the protection and healing of our land and its people from this disease.

26 March 2020 - 05:57

Liquor stores expecting bottlenecks ahead of booze ban

The panic buying that has engulfed the country since the announcement of the national lockdown is about to turn alcoholic.

Scores of people are expected to flock to their nearest liquor outlets as soon as they open on Thursday.

This comes after police minister Bheki Cele announced on Wednesday that all supermarkets and all liquor stores would be banned from selling booze once the 21-day lockdowns kicks-in on Thursday night, as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

26 March 2020 - 06:30

Armageddon outta here: Capetonians flock to 'safer' rural homes

With the clock ticking down to three weeks of lockdown, Cape Town is experiencing an exodus to the Eastern Cape.

Some of those boarding minibus taxis and buses believed that heading for their sparsely populated "home" villages would "save them".

Others saw the 21 days ahead as a chance to bond with families they normally see only during the December and January holidays.

Gidi Buyana and her husband Nkosinathi Buyana left Cape Town on Wednesday to join their parents and two children in King William’s Town.

26 March 2020 - 07:30

Toy shops 'busier than usual' as parents prepare for lockdown

Play mats, clay mud and Lego blocks.

These were just some of the items that parents were rushing to buy in some toy stores in northern Johannesburg on Wednesday ahead of the coronavirus lockdown, which starts at midnight on Thursday.

“We have been busy since Tuesday, with people buying mostly things meant for children’s entertainment,” said a worker at a Crazy Store in the northwest of Johannesburg.

26 March 2020 - 06:28

WATCH | No dog walks, no alcohol, limited transport: Ministers clarify #21DayLockdown

An interministerial conference was held in Pretoria on Wednesday to outline rules and measures for the 21-day lockdown, effective from midnight on Thursday.

Social, security, governance and economic cluster ministers outlined how their sectors will uphold the mandate of the lockdown outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday. No jogging, no dog-walking or roaming around outside one's house is permitted.

All transport will be shut down, except that needed to transport essential service workers at limited times during the day. The ministers urged South Africans to stay put during the lockdown and comply with the SA Police Service (SAPS) and army to ensure SA flattens the curve of the coronavirus pandemic. The lockdown will be in place until April 16.