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SA rugby legend tests positive for COVID-19, urges South Africans to follow the rules
28 March 2020, 4:31 PM

Springbok rugby legend Danie Gerber has contracted the coronavirus. The 61-year-old Gerber says he started feeling ill on Wednesday and experience body aches.

He went to his doctor on Thursday and was informed of his test results within 24 hours.

Gerber says he travelled a lot in the past two weeks, including more than four flights, and it is impossible to say where he picked up the virus. He is now isolated at his home in Port Elizabeth.

“I just want to tell you guys to stay at home and go according to the rules. Don’t be a hero. Think of your family, your friends the whole South Africa and the whole world. It spreads like you can’t believe it, it is very dangerous if you don’t look after yourself. I am very positive and I know I will go through this.”

In the video below, tour guides in KwaZulu-Natal express concern over possible exposure to COVID-19:

COVID-19 deaths indicate seriousness of the pandemic: DA, EFF
27 March 2020, 1:14 PM

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) say the deaths of two people in the Western Cape are an indication of the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Friday morning, the national Health Department released a statement confirming the deaths of two people. One at a private hospital and the other at a public health facility.

The DA and EFF have expressed sadness at the news, conveying condolences to the families of two women one aged 28 and the other 48.

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen says: “If ever there was a reason to reinforce how important it is that over the next 21 days that people abide by the regulations and stay indoors so we can flatten the curve and stop the spread then this must be it. This must serve to focus our minds of just how serious this COVID-19 outbreak is and just what a threat it presents to our nation, our economy and our country.”

The EFF agrees. In a statement, the party urges South Africans to stay at home.

“We call on all employers that insist on remaining fully operational to desist and shutdown their companies. These unfortunate deaths should be a wake-up call to all of us regarding the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic, as such we should all be part of preventing its spread.”

COVID-19 Safety Precautions by SABC Digital News
The red berets have also urged law enforcement agencies and security forces to carry out their duties with dignity and compassion, respect and care as they patrol the streets of South Africa to make sure that all citizens adhere to the national lockdown rules.

More than 1 000 infections have been confirmed in the country so far – making it the most affected African country.

In the video below, Gauteng Health confirms that 16 German tourists are currently under quarantine after one of them tested positive for COVID-19:

Call for rates suspension for small businesses amid national lockdown
27 March 2020, 10:58 AM

The Cape Chamber of Commerce has called for the suspension of rates and rents to save jobs and small businesses in light of the national lockdown.

President of the Chamber Geoff Jacobs says small businesses are already hard hit by the impact of COVID-19.

He’s called on municipalities and landlords to grant property owners and tenants some breathing space by suspending payments for the duration of the lockdown.

Jacobs says Stellenbosch Municipality has already agreed to suspend rates.

Stiff fines loom against retailers hiking prices

Retailers found guilty of price-hiking during the COVID-19 outbreak in South Africa could be fined 10% of their annual turnover.

The National Consumer Commission is currently investigating 11 retailers and businesses for unjustified price increases due to the demand for goods ahead of the national lockdown.

Director of Prosecutions at the Commission Joseph Selolo says consumers must report retailers or even local shops if they feel prices are being unfairly hiked.

“There’s a penalty that can be imposed which is 1 million or 10% of the offenders annual turnover whichever is greater. Unfortunately, we do not have enough man power that we can go to each shop but we encourage consumers as soon as they see that, to lodge a complaint with us together with the competition commission so that then we can take action and try to bring those offenders to book,” Selolo says.

Consumers are urged to report price irregularities during this time at 0800 01 4880.

SAA cancels international flights
20 March 2020, 12:31 PM

The South African Airways (SAA) has cancelled  international flights until May 31, 2020.

The move is part of efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak, that’s infected 202 South Africans.

It follows the gazetting of new stringent regulations aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

They include a travel ban to high-risk countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and China.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and attendant travel restrictions, resulted in substantial decline in demand for air travel. The situation led to many airlines around the world to ground aircraft, release their employees and to cancel flights. In the case of SAA, this decision means that SAA will only render services on its regional and domestic routes,” the national airline says in a statement.

Below is SAA’s full statement:

Media Statement SAA Suspends All Overborder Flights Due to Coronavirus (Tt1 Final) (Text)

SAA will be hard hit

This week, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said SAA, like many other airlines globally, will be hard hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.

SAA is currently under business rescue and has been struggling to keep its fleet airborne as its financial woes continue.

“Airlines throughout the world are going through financial difficulties. European airlines have asked for € 70 billion from the EU (European Union) to support them to survive. US airlines have asked their government $ 50 billion in order to survive. Some predict that the airline industry in its current form it won’t be existing beyond May this year. So this is the kind of difficulty the COVID-19 has created,” said Minister Gordhan.

In the video below, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula briefs the media on travel bans:

SA’s confirmed COVID-19 cases rise to 202

South Africa’s Health Minister has confirmed that the COVID-19 cases in the country have risen to 202. Free State has registered seven cases for the first time.

Briefing the media in Bloemfontein, Dr Zweli Mkhize urged South Africans to turn their homes into places of worship this Easter in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.

Earlier, he visited the Brandwag Primary School in Bloemfontein, where screening of about 600 pupils is taking place.

A parent of one of the learners has tested positive to the virus.

In the video below, Mkhize speaks to the SABC News from the school:

The map below tracks coronavirus cases across the world: 

 VIDEO: Handwashing challenge:

Computer and candle light
Load shedding under way
9 March 2020, 9:00 AM

Stage 1 load shedding has begun. It started at 9 o’clock on Monday morning and will continue until Thursday.

Eskom says an increase in the number of unplanned breakdowns at its power stations has necessitated the move.

The company says the system is currently constrained, unpredictable and vulnerable.

“This is due to a number of breakdowns which we have experienced over the weekend and late last week, and delays in some of the units were planned to come back to service this week. They’ll now return to service in the course of the week,” Eskom Spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha.

He says says that demand has also incrementally risen since January, putting pressure on their ageing fleet.

“We urge the people of South Africa to cooperate with us and help reduce demand in order to reduce the impact of load shedding.”



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