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“Systems in place to identify, detect imported cases of coronavirus in SA”
24 January 2020, 12:38 PM

There have been no cases of coronavirus identified in South Africa and on the African continent. That is according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a Division of the National Health Laboratory Service.

The death toll from the new flu-like virus has risen to 26 and more than 800 cases have been confirmed by China’s National Health Commission.

The NICD says that it has put in place systems to rapidly identify and detect any imported cases in South Africa of the coronavirus.

Professor Cheryl Cohen of the NICD says: “There have been no cases of coronavirus identified on the African continent and no cases in South Africa. There have been many cases reported from other countries of the world so we are really actively monitoring the situation globally and preparing for the possibility should a case be imported to South Africa.

There are also a number of additional resources already on standby should we have an imported case or high risk situation and these include the South African emergency operation centre which is really an integrated coordinating centre for this type of outbreak.

It appears that this virus is not very good at spreading between people.”

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The National Department of Health has assured South Africans that port health professionals routinely conduct temperature screening for all international travellers.

However, due to the current risk of importation of inadvertent cases of 2019-nCoV from Wuhan City – China, port health authorities have enhanced surveillance of all travellers from Asia, especially China.

Fortunately, OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airports are the only ports of entry with direct flights from Asia.

South Africa has developed and distributed clinical guidelines and case definitions to doctors and nurses in both the public and the private sectors. These include information on how to diagnosis and respond to a possible 2019-nCoV case.

Provinces have activated outbreak response teams and are on high alert to detect and manage inadvertent cases that may arrive in the country.

There are no restrictions that have been issued on travel to China.

The Department advises travellers to Wuhan (China) to avoid contact with animals and are encouraged to practice good hand hygiene and cough etiquette in order to reduce the risk of infection with respiratory viruses.

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Tensions ease in Newcastle following protests
24 January 2020, 9:47 AM

Tensions have eased in Newcastle in northern KwaZulu-Natal following two days of rampant protests and widespread looting at Osizweni and Madadeni townships. The municpality is in the process of clearing rocks and boulders from the roads.

The organisers of the protests say they want the council to be disbanded due to the municipality’s poor finances and a lack of services like refuse removal.

Children have returned to school on Friday morning. A private security company has indicated that looting continued well into the early hours of the morning. Looters caused large scale damage to shops and at least 160 people have been arrested.

Hardware shop owner, Phillip Soobramoney is devastated by the rampage and looting.

“This is over R1 million damage, over R1 million damage. The whole shop is wiped out, looted out, there’s nothing left, absolutely nothing left, nothing left. It’s actually a municipality issue but I don’t know why they’re actually looting our stores because we actually trying to render them a service you know sell for them build them up you know, but they are looting. At the moment sir, I don’t know really what to tell you, because my store is finished, there’s actually nothing left in my store. ”

Thursday saw violent protests blocking the road between Osizweni and Madadeni townships with burning tyres and rocks.

Mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba, however, says the protests are a smokescreen to gain the upper hand in the African National Congress (ANC) in the region.

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State Capture to continue with former Eskom board chair Tsotsi
24 January 2020, 8:40 AM

The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture will continue to hear testimony on Friday about the Gupta-linked TNA Media Company.

Former Eskom board chair Zola Tsotsi will wrap up his testimony on Friday morning. On Thursday he shed light on how former Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown had been captured by the Gupta brothers.

Tsotsi also told the commission that the 2014 board regarded the TNA Media-Eskom deal as a bad contract as the power utility was struggling financially. That board then instructed the newly appointed board, under Lynne Brown, not to renew the TNA contract.

However, Tsotsi says he was under the impression that the TNA contract was a renewal and continued to facilitate business with them.

Internal Communications Specialists for Transnet Group, Joseph Jackson is expected to testify.

The Commission will also hear testimony from former Senior: Stakeholder Relations for Transnet and from a former  Transnet Board Chairperson. Former Eskom board member, Mafika Mkhwanazi will also testify.

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Terror Mathebula and wife to be buried on Tuesday
24 January 2020, 7:15 AM

Former world boxing champion Peter “Terror” Mathebula and his wife Emma will be laid to rest next Tuesday in a joint funeral in Randfontein on the West Rand.

Emma at 65-years-old, died early on Thursday only five days after the death of her husband. This has led to the postponement of Thursday’s memorial and Saturday’s funeral service for the boxing legend.

The memorial service will now be held on Sunday.

Sixty eight-year-old Terror Mathebula became the first black South African to win a world title in 1980 when he beat Tae-Shik Kim of South Korea in Los Angeles in the United States.

He lost the title the following year.

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NATU applauds security measures put in place at Inanda school
24 January 2020, 6:27 AM

The National Teachers Union (NATU) has commended the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education for the security measures that are in place at the Buhlebethu Primary School in Inanda Newtown north of Durban.

Four robbers who shot a teacher and robbed others have been positively identified through CCTV footage at the school. It is believed that a group of seven people gained access to the premises posing as parents who wanted to enrol a learner at the school.

NATU president Allan Thompson says the society has a responsibility to secure schools.

“This is very disappointing situation because we believe that schools are the institutions that are supposed to be safe, because that is where the future of the country is. But we are grateful also that in this whole situation the school is having other devices that are assisting to improve the security. I’m talking about the cameras that are in school. I’m talking about the security that is in school hence we are getting a report again that the police were able to arrest some of the perpetrators.  This should send a strong message to the department of education. That’s another thing that needs to be considered by the department, is to have the metal detectors in each and every school gate so that we are able to tell if a person is coming inside the school environment with any form of a weapon.”

Teaching and learning has been suspended at the school until Monday to provide psychological assistance to traumatised learners.

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