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Citizens not adhering to lockdown regulations a concern
13 July 2020, 6:21 AM

President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is seriously concerned that South Africans are not adhering to lockdown regulations, which are meant to protect them during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In his address to the nation on Sunday night on government’s adjusted strategy to contain the escalating COVID-19  pandemic in the country, the President said the National Command Council and Cabinet considered moving to higher alert levels because of the surge in infections. However, it was decided that this would cause great economic and social harm.

The President says he is aware of cases where people organise drinking parties, visit family, and refuse to wear masks – in direct violation of government directives.

“In some cases some people go to funerals where more than 1000 people are in attendance. This is how the virus is spread through carelessness and through recklessness. It is concerning that many are downplaying the seriousness of this virus despite all evidence to the contrary and what we have cautioned about on numerous occasions.”



Suspension of alcohol sales

The President also announced the immediate suspension of alcohol sales and the reintroduction of a curfew from nine at night to 4 o’clock in the morning.

The President urges citizens to take COVID-19 seriously and act responsibly:

The a risk-adjusted lockdown Level 3 restrictions include, among others, the following:

  • Parks will be open for exercise, but not for any form of gathering;
  • Family visits still banned;
  • Wearing of mask is mandatory;
  • The sale, dispensing and distributing of alcohol has been suspended with immediate effect;
  • The curfew will run from 21:00 to 04:00;
  • Taxis and Buses taking long trips will have to adhere to 70% occupancy. Taxis and Buses taking shorter trips may increase capacity to 100%, subject to strict health protocols;
  • Employers must provide every employees with a cloth face mask;
  • The sale of tobacco, tobacco products, e- cigarettes and related products is prohibited. –Additional reporting Wendy Mothata

 

VIDEO: Weekly Global COVID-19 Wrap, 10 July
10 July 2020, 10:14 PM

In this week’s Global COVID-19 Wrap, SABC News captures highlights from the African continent, Europe, Asia, and the Americas – as the number of confirmed infections worldwide rises. It’s currently at over 12.4 million with more than 7.2 million recoveries and deaths well over 558 761.

In South Africa, the number of confirmed cases passed the 238 000 mark this week. Deaths have risen to 3 720.

On the rest of the continent, 52 African Union Member States have so far reported 546 417 cases; with 12 532 deaths and 266 624 recoveries.

Below are highlights of COVID-19 stories making headlines around the world:

COVID-19 pandemic plunges working world into crisis – ILO
8 July 2020, 11:36 AM

Global leaders called for a comprehensive approach to counter the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which International Labour Organization chief Guy Ryder said on Wednesday had plunged the world of work into”unprecedented crisis”.

“Let’s be clear: it’s not a choice between health or jobs and the economy. They are interlinked: we will either win on all fronts or fail on all fronts,”

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told an ILO summit that will be addressed by dozens of heads of state and government via recorded messages.

World Health Organization (WHO) head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the summit the world had a special duty to protect the millions of healthcare workers at the front line of the crisis and suffering increasing cases of infection and death.

“Together we have a duty to protect those who protect us,” he said.

In the video below are UN and WHO heads address the ILO

The outlook for the global labour market in the second half of 2020 is “highly uncertain” and the forecast recovery will not be enough for employment to return to pre-pandemic levels this year, the ILO said last week.

The UN agency said the fall in global working hours was”significantly worse than previously estimated” in the first half of the year.

In the video below various world leaders speak:

UK has two vaccines in human trials
8 July 2020, 10:16 AM

The UK has two vaccines in human trials. One being developed by London’s Imperial College is at an early stage — in Phase 1 — with a small group of people involved.

The other — developed at Oxford University — is further ahead — in Phase 2 and 3 trials.

Thousands of people in the UK, Brazil, and in South Africa are currently getting doses. But there are concerns amongst developing countries about how fair access to the vaccine — should it succeed — will be guaranteed.

Although two vaccines, most eyes are on Oxford as it’s more advanced. Trials In Brazil and South Africa are ongoing to check it works across a broad range of people — and because of not enough cases in the UK.

The results are not expected until late August at the earliest but could be the end of the year. The limiting factor is how many of those people become exposed to the virus.

In the video below the vaccine in South Africa is discussed:

But even though researchers don’t yet know whether it works — pre-orders are already being made. AstraZeneca, the UK based pharmaceutical company has been tasked with making the vaccine and it says it has the capacity to make 2 billion.

That’s not for profit, but the countries themselves will need to pay. A 100 million are reserved for the UK, 400 for the US, and 400 for EU countries — with other European countries possibly included.

For developing countries, one route is  300 CEPI/GAVI — two charities that specialise in ensuring vaccine access to developing countries.

But also the Serum Institute of India — a vaccine maker and distributor — has ordered 1 billion doses. And part of that agreement is that doses go to low and middle-income countries — as well as to India.

How that will be divided we don’t yet know. Reporting by Stuart Smith

In the video below the UK’s first human trials of a potential vaccine are “progressing very well”

SABC News special focus on impact of COVID-19 on people’s lives in SA
5 July 2020, 2:00 PM

SABC News is having a special focus on all its platforms on Sunday on the impact COVID-19 has had on everybody’s lives.

Saturday marked 100 days since the national lockdown kicked in as a result of COVID-19.

Mortality numbers are increasing daily and medical staff and other essential workers are feeling the strain both physically and emotionally. The physical and emotional stress of health care professionals often goes unrecognised and is therefore not addressed.

A third of South African doctors surveyed by the Medical Practitioners Society and the International Medical Defense Organisation have experienced a decline in mental wellbeing as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.

Many will need specialist support to avoid huge bands of doctors either leaving the profession or suffering in silence.

Three doctors working in COVID-19 wards at some of the busiest hospitals in Port Elizabeth share their stories of exhaustion, fatigue, depression, and anxiety during these trying times.

In the video below, the three doctors share their experience:

It’s an unenviable job. Risking life and limb daily. From working in poor weather conditions and being hit by vehicles, to being assaulted by road-users.

That’s the life of a traffic officer. But there’s one fearless Johannesburg officer roaming the streets and highways. 33-year old Palesa Kumalo.

In the video below Khumalo speaks about her job:

Teaching is often referred to as the mother of all professions. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the burden has become heavier. In addition to teaching, educators have to ensure pupils are safe in the classroom and curb the spread of the virus.

In the video below, a teacher recounts the experience of working amid the pandemic:

While South Africa battles COVID-19, at the forefront of the war against the invisible enemy are doctors.

Dr Vusumzi Mehlo, a Clinical Manager at St Barnabas Hospital in the Eastern Cape, has gone the extra mile to save COVID-19 patients, even driving an ambulance during this pandemic.

In the video below Dr Mehlo shares more:

Stigmatisation is another huge concern

Medical experts have warned of the growing stigmatisation of people infected with the coronavirus.

A Northern Cape family has been shunned by a community, following alarming voice notes. The voice notes state that they have tested positive for COVID-19 and have put the lives of all the people who attended a funeral, held at their home last month, at risk.

Petrol attendants have also been affected:

Petrol attendants make sure we can travel many happy kilometers. But never did they believe that they will find themselves on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the video below an attendant shares his story:

The reality of death

29 health care workers have died in the Western Cape due to COVID-19 related illnesses. The province is currently moving through, what it hopes is the peak, and then subsequent decline in the high number of cases. The number of confirmed cases in the province spiked dramatically which put a lot of strain on the Health Department in the province.

Health care workers bear the brunt of the virus, not only to look after those who become sick, but they are also exposed to the virus themselves. Health care workers have also popularly become known as the “Frontline Heroes”.

In the video below a health worker shares how her job has changed, her fears, and her compassion and commitment to her patients:

Weather

 

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