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SA moves to adjusted lockdown level 2 from Monday
30 May 2021, 7:36 PM

President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa will move to adjusted lockdown level 2 from Monday.

The move follows an increase of 31% positive cases on the previous week and 66% increase on the week before that.

Ramaphosa says the increase in daily cases is following the same trajectory as it did at the start of the previous two waves. “We have seen in other countries the tragic consequences of allowing the virus to spread unchecked,” he says.

He says it’s a matter of time before the whole country has entered the third wave.

“Gatherings, funerals, camps, sporting activities and ‘after tears’ have become areas where the virus is spreading,” says the President.

A new curfew from 11pm to 4pm will also be in place.

“Bars, restaurants will have to close by 10pm. Gatherings limited to 100 indoors and 250 outdoors,” the President adds.

He says where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, no more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used.

The President is urging owners and managers of public buildings, centres, shops, restaurants, taxis and buses to ensure that people on their premises or in their vehicles wear masks, and that the appropriate social distancing measures are in place.

He is also calling on South Africans to avoid unnecessary travel.

“We must remember that the virus does not move from place to place by itself; it relies on the movement of people. The less we travel, the less the virus is spread,” he says.

The President’s full address is in the video below:

Ramaphosa says over the last two weeks, over 480 000 people have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine as part of the country’s public vaccination campaign.

He says the scheduled delivery of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines has, however, been delayed due to regulatory issues related to lack of adherence to proper standards at a manufacturing plant in the United States.

The President says the African continent is pushing ahead with efforts to expand its vaccine manufacturing capacity with a view to be self-sufficient in vaccine production.

“We are continuing to urge all countries to support a waiver of the TRIPS agreement at the World Trade Organisation so that COVID-19 vaccines and treatments can be produced on a greater scale, at lower cost and at a faster pace,” he says.

He says this includes 31 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is a single-dose, and which will be manufactured here in South Africa. It includes 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two doses to provide full protection.

Interesting facts to keep in mind

Sunday’s address came exactly two months after the President kept South Africa at lockdown level 1 since the 1st of March 2021.

Before that, South Africa had been at its second lockdown level 3.

Today, Sunday 30 May 2021, is South Africa is:

  • 14-and-a-half months under the National State of Disaster (since Sunday 15 March 2020);
  • 430th day under various levels of lockdown (since Friday 27 March 2020); and
  • 91st day under the second round of level 1 lockdown (since Monday 1 March 2021).
Mali coup leader to attend emergency West African summit
30 May 2021, 4:42 PM

West African leaders will discuss on Sunday how to respond to a coup in Mali, gathering in the Ghanaian capital Accra for a summit to be attended by Assimi Goita, who was named interim Malian president after leading the takeover last week.

The revolt has prompted sanctions warnings from foreign powers, which fear it will derail a promised transition back to democracy following another coup last August led by Goita, an army colonel.

He was appointed interim president on Friday, setting Mali on a collision course with the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has insisted the transition, which is due to end with elections in February, should be led by civilians.

Goita has flown to Accra for the summit, according to his administration.

The talks are scheduled to start at 1400 GMT. ECOWAS closed borders with landlocked Mali and halted financial transactions in response to last year’s coup.

The sanctions led to a 30% slump in imports before they were lifted last October. The bloc and Western powers including France and the United States fear the political crisis could exacerbate instability in northern and central Mali, a home base for regional affiliates of al Qaeda and Islamic State.

AU calls on Malian parties to engage in dialogue:

UK PM Johnson marries in low-key, surprise ceremony
30 May 2021, 4:10 PM

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson married his fiancée Carrie Symonds at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, capping a week of political drama with a wedding kept so under wraps that his office did not confirm it until the following day.

The event was not announced in advance and media reports on Saturday evening said guests were invited at the last minute to the Roman Catholic cathedral in central London, adding that even senior members of Johnson’s office were unaware of the wedding plans.

“The Prime Minister and Ms Symonds were married yesterday afternoon in a small ceremony at Westminster Cathedral,” Johnson’s office said on Sunday. “The couple will celebrate their wedding with family and friends next summer.”

Johnson, 56, and Symonds, 33, have been living together in Downing Street since Johnson became prime minister in 2019. They announced last year that they were engaged and their son, Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson, was born in April 2020.

The Conservative prime minister faced a barrage of criticism over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic after former chief adviser Dominic Cummings told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday that his failings had caused thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Johnson brushed aside the allegations, saying on Thursday that “some of the commentary” bore no relation to reality. He said the government had done its best to follow the data and guidance it had to contain the pandemic.

Smiles and flowers 

A wedding photo issued by the prime minister’s office showed the couple smiling in the garden of 10 Downing Street after the ceremony. Symonds wore a long white gown and a garland of white flowers in her hair while Johnson wore a dark suit, blue tie and a floral buttonhole.

The ceremony had to be low-key: weddings in England are currently limited to 30 people due to COVID-19 restrictions. Media reports said that the cathedral was suddenly locked down at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and Symonds arrived 30 minutes later in a limo.

Earlier this month, the Sun had reported that wedding invitations had been sent to friends and family for July 2022.

Johnson, once dubbed “Bonking Boris” by Britain’s tabloid media, has a complicated private life. He was once fired from the Conservative Party’s policy team while in opposition for lying about an extra-marital affair.

He has been divorced twice and refuses to say how many children he has fathered. Johnson’s last marriage was to Marina Wheeler, a lawyer. They had four children together but announced in September 2018 that they had separated.

Eskom to implement load reduction from 5pm
30 May 2021, 3:56 PM

Eskom will implement load reduction from 5pm to 10pm in some parts of the country.

These include Limpopo, Eastern Cape and the North West provinces.

The power utility says the move is aimed at avoiding network overloading in networks with high density.

“Currently Eskom is battling to keep up with increased impact of illegal connections and tampering and the equipment failure caused by overloading, which costs Eskom millions to repair,” says the electricity service provider in a statement sent out on Twitter.

The company has urged the public to reduce electricity usage as the power system is severely constrained, with a high probability of load shedding.

In a statement sent earlier before the announcement on load reduction, the power utility said it could be forced to implement Stage 1 or, if necessary, Stage 2 load shedding at short notice should any further breakdowns occur.

It says Eskom teams are working tirelessly to return more generators to service and it will communicate promptly should there be any significant changes to the system.

Discussion on load shedding and other challenges facing the power utility:

 

President Ramaphosa to address the nation at 7pm
30 May 2021, 3:24 PM

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 19h00 on Sunday on developments in the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President’s address follows meetings in recent days of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) and Cabinet.

The talks come amid concerns over the surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

South Africa reported 4 515 COVID-19 cases and 70 deaths overnight:

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“As South Africa rolls out its national COVID-19 vaccination programme, government and social partners are continuously monitoring infection, treatment and patient recovery rates, as well as compliance with health regulations and other prevention measures,” says Presidency Spokesperson, Tyrone Seale, in a statement.

The President’s address will be broadcast on the SABC News Channel and streamed live on the public broadcaster’s YouTube page.

Link to that broadcast in the video below:

COVID-19 pandemic discussion with Professor Adrian Pure:

Weather

 

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