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Parents urged to ensure children adhere to lockdown rules
11 April 2020, 1:36 PM

Gauteng police have appealed to parents to ensure children obey the lockdown regulations.  They say many children are roaming the streets and this put them at risk of contracting the coronavirus. 

Police say it is difficult to make an arrest to these children because they need guidance from their parents to be indoors.  

Police spokesperson Mashadi Selepe says some people do not take the virus seriously.

“This time is not about arresting. It’s about making a contribution as part of government. We’ve got our social crime prevention. They will go out and take the kids home look for parents. It is something that is very difficult. We haven’t enforce the law with the children because these people are just children and they just need guidance.”  

In the video below, ways children can keep busy during lockdown: 

Twenty four people in South Africa have died from the virus and 2 003 others are infected.

We should not go back to business as usual after COVID-19: Commonwealth Secretary-General
8 April 2020, 12:47 PM

Today there is an eerie silence across the globe. Bustling cities have gone quiet and highways that were once jammed with bumper to bumper traffic are empty. In homes, thousands of families are anxiously awaiting a phone call from a hospital about their loved ones. Many have already received the devastating news that their mother, father, child, spouse, sibling or friend has died from coronavirus complications – often without the comfort of someone familiar to hold their hands.

And in the very trenches of the war against this new disease that changed our world with astonishing speed, are nurses, doctors and other hospital staff. Every day they put on their uniforms and turn up to the frontline to battle, with or without the armour of personal protective equipment.

COVID-19 has touched every nook and cranny of our globe. Big and small, developed and developing have seen their economies grind to a halt; businesses buckling under the strain of lockdowns; toilet paper, hand sanitiser and pasta becoming rare and precious items; schools closing and major sporting events being cancelled. And, of course, it has exposed serious gaps in health services and systems.

But, even as we wake every day to this frightening and sometimes surreal experience, it is encouraging and comforting to hear the Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II, declare, on Sunday, that “we will succeed” in the fight against this global crisis.

So, on this year’s World Health Day (April 7) that has been rightly set aside to celebrate the contributions of nurses and midwives, it is important that we take the opportunity to reevaluate the status quo and the current models that support our daily lives, and begin to assess the lessons that are already emerging from this catastrophe.

What we have already witnessed, for example, is that healthcare systems that are more equitable, providing access to basic healthcare to all individuals and communities without them experiencing financial hardship, are more equipped to respond to the pandemic. These countries that provide healthcare to all, known as universal health coverage, have been more successful in providing testing and treatment during the pandemic.

This particular lesson has been a top agenda item for Commonwealth health ministers at their annual summits for the last four years. Their meetings have critically assessed various strategies to help countries achieve universal health coverage. It is now undoubtedly clear that addressing human resources for health shortages and financing sustainable healthcare systems that cater to the needs of those in poverty and the most marginalised in any society, is critical if we are to win the fight against COVID-19 and be ready for any future outbreaks.

Shortage of health supplies

Another challenge that this pandemic has exposed is the acute shortage of essential health supplies, drugs, equipment and tests. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Commonwealth had developed strategies to help countries to pool procurement of essential medicines. This was presented at the 2019 Health Ministers Meeting chaired by Fiji. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have been exploring how we can tailor approaches such as a price sharing and pooled procurement platform to provide important information on these essential health supplies, drugs, tests and equipment necessary to combat the pandemic across the Commonwealth.

There is no doubt that this pandemic is affecting us all – its impact leaking into every aspect of our life. Both physical and mental health is on the line, as people lose their way of life, their livelihoods and their loved ones. Many of us will feel the long-term effects of poor nutrition, decline in fitness and the disruption of human relationships.

But COVID-19 does not affect us equally. There is certainly a disproportionate impact, for example, on households that depend on daily paid labour and people at risk of domestic abuse. So, governments stand before a Goliath challenge that requires a coordinated response involving all sectors.

But I again return to the wisdom of Queen Elizabeth that “better days will return”.

If we work together, share resources and equipment and follow advice of governments and the World Health Organisation, we will, eventually, be able to wake up our cities, return to work, school and leisure, to meet and chat, or to hug each other. But it is important that we never go back to the business-as-usual that we knew before coronavirus.

We must use the opportunity to learn from this outbreak and decide, not only how we could have more resilient, connected and accessible healthcare systems, but also how we could address connected issues such as climate change and access to quality education for all. By Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland.

Ethiopia declares state of emergency to curb spread of COVID-19
8 April 2020, 12:25 PM

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in the country to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus, his office said on Twitter.

“Considering the gravity of the #COVID19, the government of Ethiopia has enacted a State of Emergency,” Abiy’s office said.

Africa’s second most populous nation at more than 110 million, Ethiopia has recorded 52 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and two deaths.

Authorities have already taken a series of measures to stem the spread including closing schools, banning public gatherings and requiring most employees to work from home.

The prime minister did not mention what additional steps would be taken under the state of emergency.

In the video below, is a report on Ethiopia’s efforts to support drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic:

China’s Wuhan lockdown ends, but another begins as local coronavirus cases rise
8 April 2020, 9:18 AM

The Chinese city where the coronavirus epidemic first broke out, Wuhan, ended a two-month lockdown on Wednesday, but a northern town started restricting the movement of its residents amid concerns of a second wave of infections in mainland China. China sealed off Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, in late January to stop the spread of the virus.

Over 50 000 people in Wuhan caught the virus, and more than 2 500 of them died, about 80% of all deaths in China, according to official figures. The virus has since become a global pandemic that has infected over 1.4 million people and killed 82 000, wreaking havoc on the global economy as governments worldwide imposed sweeping lockdowns to rein in its spread.

Restrictions in Wuhan have eased in recent days as the capital of Hubei province reported just three new confirmed infections in the past 21 days and only two new infections in the past fortnight. But even as people leave the city, new imported cases in the northern province of Heilongjiang surged to a daily high of 25, fuelled by an influx of infected travellers arriving from Russia, which shares a land border with the province.

Suifenhe City in Heilongjiang restricted the movement of its citizens on Wednesday in a similar fashion to that of Wuhan.

Residents must stay in residential compounds and one person from a family can leave once every three days to buy necessities and must return on the same day, said state-run CCTV.

In Jiaozhou City in the eastern province of Shandong therisk level had risen from low to medium, according to a post on an official website, but it gave no further details. A county in central China with a population of about 600 000 went into a partial lockdown on April 1 following several new infections, including at least two asymptomatic cases.

Leaving Wuhan

Around 55 000 people are expected to leave Wuhan by train on Wednesday. More than 10 000 travellers have left the city by plane so far as flights resume at Wuhan Tianhe airport.

Flights to Beijing and international locations have not been restored. “I’m very happy, I’m going home today,” migrant worker Liu Xiaomin told Reuters as she stood with her suitcases inside Wuhan’s Hankou railway station, bound for Xiangyang city.

Still, Wuhan residents have been urged not to leave the province, their city or even their neighbourhood unless absolutely necessary.

People from Wuhan arriving in the Chinese capital Beijing will have to undergo two rounds of testing for the virus. China is maintaining strict screening protocols, concerned about any resurgence in domestic transmissions due to virus carriers who exhibit no symptoms and infected travellers arriving from overseas.

AfriForum threatens Tourism Minister with legal action
8 April 2020, 8:38 AM

Lobby group AfriForum has given Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane a week to address its concerns over government’s relief fund for small businesses to cushion them from the impact of COVID-19.

The Minister has announced that the fund will be in line with the department’s policy of black economic empowerment and economic transformation.

However, AfriForum says this is discriminatory as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone.

The CEO of the organisation Kallie Kriel says they will approach the court if the Minister does not revise the policy.

“We believe it is a disgrace at the moment that in a time of crisis where we have a common enemy such as COVID-19 and which we should all fighting together, government is implementing a racial policy. The fact is the virus knows no colour and you can not confuse measures with assistance in supposed of crisis. We believe in times of crisis everybody should be assisted and that is why we will fight this to the bitter end.”

The DA says this is not a time to apply a racial criteria in determining eligibility for government relief for businesses affected by COVID-19.

“This is not a time for petty political ideologies to prevail. Corona knows no race, it knows no class and it knows no differentiation between businesses. It is going to affect our economy no matter what your race no matter where you live. It therefore makes absolutely no sense whatsoever in this time of great crisis for SA to be resorting to petty racial bean-counting. We need to fight this virus together. We need to ensure that relief is available to all businesses who qualify for such relief by government,” says DA Interim leader John Steenhuisen.

Good news for wine industry

Western Cape Agriculture Minister Ivan Meyer has welcomed the amendment of the Disaster Management Act regulations to allow for the export of wine from South Africa.

He says transporting wines, agricultural cargo and fresh produce to sea ports and international airports is now permitted during the lockdown period.

Meyer says the top export products from the province include citrus fruit, wines, grapes, fresh apples, pears and quinces. Meyer says the wine industry is an important contributor to the agricultural economy and a major job creator in the province.

“The Western Cape is the home of 98% of all the wine cellars of South Africa and we are pleased that wine exports will now continue. We are ready to protect our agricultural exports and this amendment is welcomed in the Western Cape,” Meyer says.



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