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Water and Sanitation department urges citizens to use water sparingly as SA battles COVID-19
24 May 2020, 5:55 AM

The Water and Sanitation department has urged South Africans to use water sparingly now more than ever as the country battles COVID-19.

Water plays a critical role in ensuring good hand hygiene to reduce the spread of corona virus.

This comes as water levels in the Vaal Dam have dropped to below 50% capacity.

The department says the drop was expected because of the low summer rainfall in the catchment area.

Water and Sanitation Spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau says:”Although it is important to point out that when you look at the fact that we always encourage people to use water sparingly during the winter season but also marry the fact that we are now responding to the COVID19 therefore it would be very vital and critical for us to use water sparingly going forward.

The Water and Sanitation department says the low levels are because of low summer rainfall in the catchment area.

Ratau says dams which form part of the Integrated Vaal River System have a capacity of between 60 and 70%.

This is below the 74% capacity of the same time in 2019. But Ratau says there is no reason to worry about a shortage of water during the winter months.

“Because we are getting into the winter season, we do expect that it will fall below 50% very soon but we must remember that the Vaal dam is but one of 14 dams within the Integrated Vaal System. We shouldn’t be concerned at this point because we know that the Integrated Vaal River System is still in a healthy space therefore we do expect that we will be able to go through the winter.”

Water challenges loom in Moutse Village, Limpopo:

Dr. Moeketsi Majoro
President Ramaphosa congratulates Majoro on his appointment as Lesotho Prime Minister
24 May 2020, 5:00 AM

President Cyril Ramaphosa has congratulated Moeketsi Majoro on his appointment as the new Prime Minister of Lesotho.

The presidency says in a statement that South Africa will continue working with the government and people of Lesotho to ensure successful implementation of reforms.

He wished former Prime Minister Tom Thabane  well in his retirement and praised him for helping Lesotho move toward reform.

President Ramaphosa has assured the new President of Lesotho that he’s personally dedicated to strengthening ties between the two countries.

Majoro, said one of his priorities is to ensure that the judiciary and security forces regain their independence.

The new Prime Minister of the Mountain Kingdom Lesotho, MOEKETSI MAJORO. Our people have pinned their hopes in him. We wish him well. We wish Lesotho the stability and economic upward mobility it deserves. Khotso

— Vezuchiy Fanashnikov (@fanamokoena) May 18, 2020

Lesotho struggled with instability and political infighting under Thabane with the former Prime Minister using the army for some of his battles.

The judiciary was also seen as taking political sides and supporting factions.

Majoro says a reform process has been launched to ensure that the country returns to the principle of the separation of powers, which is a key hallmark of democracies.

He took the oath of office on Wednesday at the King’s palace in front of dignitaries.

His predecessor, 80-year-old Thabane attended the swearing-in ceremony, but his wife Maesaiah was conspicuously absent.

They are both suspects in the murder of his former wife, Lipolelo, in 2017 after she reportedly refused him a divorce.

Lesotho’s politics are discussed in In the video below:

Louw slams Cele’s warning that cigarette users need to provide proof of purchase
24 May 2020, 4:00 AM

The Free Market Foundation has slammed Police Minister Bheki Cele’s warning that people who are caught with a cigarette will need to provide proof of purchase – questioning whether Cele was serious when he made the comments.

Foundation CEO, Leon Louw, says the lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus has become a threat to individual freedoms.

This comes as the country prepares to move to level three of the lockdown.

Louw says South Africa is one of the few countries in the world that has banned cigarette and alcohol sales during the lockdown.

He demanded Cele and others to read the constitution and the bill of rights.

Also liquor associations have called on government to urgently reopen the manufacturing, distribution, and trade of alcohol during level three of lockdown.

Most parts of the country are expected to move to Level 3 of the nationwide lockdown from the first of June, while areas with a high number of coronavirus infections might remain on a higher level.

Parts of SA could move to Level 3 lockdown: Anban Pillay

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation on Sunday evening at around 7pm as the country battles coronavirus and prepares to move to level 3 of the lockdown.

The presidency says in a statement that speech follows meetings among cabinet, the coronavirus command council and the president’s co-ordinating council.

President Ramaphosa has also held consultative meetings with business, labour and civil society.

The SABC will broadcast the speech on its TV, radio and streaming services.

INFOGRAPHIC: What is permitted during Level 3 lockdown:

French COVID-19 cases slow and patient tallies continue to fall
24 May 2020, 3:35 AM

Coronavirus infection rates in France have slowed further and the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and intensive care continued to fall, health ministry figures showed, a sign that social distancing is keeping contagion in check for now.

Nearly two weeks after lockdown ended, health ministry data on Saturday showed the number of confirmed cases rose by 250 to 144.806 over 24 hours, an increase of 0.2%, below the average 0.3% increase of the past seven days and well below the average 0.8% increase seen in the last week of lockdown.

Italy and Spain have also reported confirmed cases going up by 0.3% on average in the past seven days.

The number of people in hospital with coronavirus in France fell by 205 to 17.178 on Saturday, continuing a gradual decline that has continued for more than five weeks since a high of 32.292 on April 14.

The number of people in intensive care fell by 36 or 2.1% to 1.665, a slide that has been uninterrupted for six weeks since the April 8 peak at 7.148.

Both numbers are key measures of a national health system’s ability to cope with the epidemic.

The French government is watching the infection rate and the hospital numbers closely in order to decide whether to loosen lockdown measures further in the weeks ahead.

The ministry said France’s cumulative coronavirus death toll stood at 28.332, an increase of 117 or 0.4% compared to Thursday. Friday’s death toll data were not available.

The ministry said it will update the death toll again on Monday.

After showing a higher death toll than Spain for 10 days, France again fell below Spain, which reported an increase of several hundred deaths on Friday.

On Saturday, Spain’s cumulative death toll stood at 28.678, or 346 more than France, making Spain again the country with the world’s fourth-highest death toll after the United States, Britain and Italy.

Below is the dashboard tracking global COVID-19 cases, death toll, recoveries and more:

The drive-in movie stages a comeback in US in coronavirus era
24 May 2020, 2:30 AM

The drive-in movie, dismissed by many as a relic of an earlier time in America, is making a comeback as entertainment seemingly designed for the coronavirus era.

Beth Wilson, who owns the Warwick Drive-in about an hour’s drive from Manhattan, says it has been sold out since May 15, the first day drive-ins could operate under New York’s reopening plan.

The drive-in has struck a chord with Americans who have been largely confined to their homes since March watching the death toll from COVID-19 accumulate on their TV screens.

Customers come “just to be out and for some form of entertainment that is not streaming on their TV,” said Wilson, adding she hopes the Warwick Drive-In can help people reconnect. “I just want to see their happiness, their well-being.”

The drive-in experience is virtually tailor-made for the pandemic. Patrons control their close social interactions and any contact with other people happens outdoors, which is seen as lower risk for infection than indoors.

The Four Brothers Drive-In in Amenia, New York, which like Warwick has halved its capacity to put more distance between cars, is selling into next week after running out of tickets for the Memorial Day weekend.

“It’s a lot of first-time people that are inquiring and coming,” John Stefanopoulos, whose family owns the drive-in and an adjacent restaurant. “People want to get out of their house.”

Stefanopoulos sees a chance for the industry, which has shrunk by some 90% from a peak decades ago, to grow out of the crisis. He has received inquiries about developing drive-in theaters from England, Ireland and across the United States.

Some outsiders are looking to capitalize on the trend.

The Bel Aire Diner in the New York City borough of Queens propped up a screen in its parking lot and has been holding movie nights, serving food to customers in their cars while they watch classics like “The Princess Bride” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”



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