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Travel restrictions need to be balanced after COVID-19 variants detected in SA
9 May 2021, 1:50 PM

The Acting Executive Director for the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), Professor Adrian Puren, says COVID-19 travel restrictions need to be balanced with the need to grow the economy.

Prof Puren says there should be a fine balance to manage the situation especially as coronavirus variants are in circulation worldwide.

The Department of Health earlier said it had detected the presence of coronavirus variants dominant in India and the UK in South Africa.

The Department says, “The Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa (NGS-SA) confirmed today that 2 variants of concern, other than the B.1.351 already dominating in South Africa, have been detected. These are B.1.1.7 (first detected in the UK) – 11 cases and B.1.617.2 (first detected in India) – 4 cases.”

“In addition, the B.1.351 (first detected here in South Africa) has been sequenced from a patient travelling from Bangladesh.”

The statement says, “The four cases of B.1.617.2 have been detected in Gauteng (2) and KwaZulu-Natal (2) and all have a history of a recent arrival from India. All cases have been isolated and managed according to national
COVID-19 case management guidelines and contact tracing has been performed in order to limit the
spread of this variant.”

Regarding the variant first identified in the UK, the Department says, “Of the eleven cases of B.1.1.7, eight were detected in the Western Cape (with two having a history of travel from Bahrain), one was detected in KwaZulu-Natal and two were detected in Gauteng.”

Prof Puren says it’s a tough situation.

“As you note the variants are in circulation even though there are specific restrictions from various countries. The variants are in circulation, it’s really how we manage that particular scenario. For example, in the UK and other countries, it’s really either to have the results of PCR or either test, quarantine or isolate or test during that particular period and release those particular individuals.”

Prof Puren also says the country will experience new coronavirus variants in various geographic areas.

Prof Puren spoke to the SABC in the video below:


Public and private sector join hands to assist flood victims in the Overberg region
9 May 2021, 6:31 AM

The public and private sectors have joined hands in the Overberg area of the Western Cape to assist flood victims in Struisbaai.

The owner of a local restaurant,  Searl Derman, mobilised teams to support their affected staff, immediate families and the local community.

Spokesperson Johan van Schalkwyk says they provided blankets and food to those in need and assisted the Cape Agulhas Mayor Paul Swart and his team, who set up the local community hall as a central relief point.

“The Catch Cook Restaurant was also honoured to be assisted by the Western Cape Provincial Legislature Speaker Masizole Mnqasela who drove to the crisis area to lend a helping hand.  In a short address, thanking the volunteers, Masizole noted that he sees this as a human tragedy and appealed to the public to work together to help the flood relief efforts of the Catch Cook Restaurant.”

Intense storms

At least four people have died in three separate flood-related incidents at Bonnievale and near Riviersonderend. This after communities were affected by intense storms and heavy rainfall which several towns in the area experienced since Tuesday.

A number of evacuations were also carried out in the area. The intense storms have since subsided.

“Things are normalising in the Overberg, water levels are dropping, we still have road closures, especially secondary roads. Our focus is now provision of food parcels for the households that were affected by the storm,” says Overberg District Municipality Fire Chief, Reinard Geldenhuys.

Limpopo police launch a manhunt after man was murdered during a house robbery
9 May 2021, 6:11 AM

Police have launched a manhunt for suspects who strangled a man to death during an armed robbery at Dopeni village outside Louis Trichardt.

Police say four armed robbers entered the homestead, tied Mpho Maligowa up, and demanded money. He was later strangled.

Family spokesperson James Maligowa says the robbers fled with an undisclosed amount of money.

Limpopo police spokesperson Motlafela Mojapelo says, “The police in Siloam in the Vhembe District have launched a manhunt for four suspects who allegedly committed house robbery and murder at Dopeni village on Friday afternoon.”

“The suspects allegedly entered the house, produced a knife, and demanded money from the victims. In the process, they reportedly strangled one of the victims aged 44. The suspects robbed the victim’s money and cellphone. ”

Mojapelo says, “Anyone with information is requested to contact the nearest police or call the toll-free number 0860010111.”

VIDEO: Weekly Global COVID-19 Wrap, 07 May
7 May 2021, 4:58 PM

In this week’s Global COVID-19 Wrap, SABC News captures highlights from all corners of the globe, as the number of confirmed infections worldwide continues to rise.

Currently, the COVID-19 cases worldwide stand at over 156.7 million with more than 134.9 million recoveries and deaths at 3 271 664 million.

In South Africa, the number of confirmed cases has surpassed the 1.5 million mark, whilst the death toll has risen to 54 620.

On the rest of the continent, 52 African Union Member States have so far reported 4 649 096 cases; with 123 938 deaths and 4 182 230 recoveries.

COVID-19 stories making headlines around the world:

Parliament resumes on Tuesday following a hiatus
3 May 2021, 7:00 PM

Parliament resumes its regular sessions this week, following a six-week hiatus. On Tuesday, the National Assembly Rules Committee will chart the way forward on the composition of the Section 194 committee that will probe whether Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is fit to hold office. 

Speaker Thandi Modise referred the matter to the committee following a complaint by UDM leader, Bantu Holomisa.

Parliament proceedings regarding the Public Protector inquiry:

On Tuesday and Wednesday the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) will hold a Budget and Fiscal Oversight Workshop under the theme: “Accountability in Public Expenditure Through Effective Parliamentary Oversight”, which will be addressed by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. A total of 50 committee meetings are also scheduled to take place.

On Thursday afternoon President Cyril Ramaphosa will be at the National Assembly to answer oral questions.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen will ask the President for details of the brands and quantities of vaccines government has purchased to ensure that at least 41 million people are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) President Julius Malema will ask about the price of the drugs bought and which ones have been approved by the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority. There is widespread skepticism that government will be able to meet this target given the rate of vaccinations so far.

The President will also get an opportunity to speak about the insurgency in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province. African National Congress (ANC) member of Parliament (MP), Bheki Radebe wants him to spell out what South Africa, SADC, and the African Union (AU) are doing to deal with the source of the insurgency.

Defence expert, Helmoet Heitman says SADC’s efforts to deal with the situation are too weak and unlikely to succeed.



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