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Putting SA on level 2 a wrong move from government: DA
31 May 2021, 12:00 AM

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says putting the country on adjusted level two is a wrong move from government.

It says South Africans do not need a lockdown but vaccines.

During his nation address President Cyril Ramaphosa said with the increase in COVID-19 cases strict measures had to be implemented.

DA spokesperson, Siviwe Garube says the President has also failed to comment on the allegations levelled against Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize.

“We are of the view that the minister must step down until the finalisation of that SIU report. What we cannot have is the situation where is both a player and a referee in investigation that concerns him.

We are of the view again that the only way South Africa can really be pull-out of this pandemic is if South Africans are getting vaccinated at pace. The third wave of infections will always inevitable particularly considering the fact that we have been even reached the medium people.”

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

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

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

Ramaphosa said 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 said 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.

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 said 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 said 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.

West African bloc ECOWAS suspends Mali’s membership after coup -minister
30 May 2021, 11:12 PM

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Sunday suspended Mali’s membership of the regional bloc in response to last week’s coup, Ghana’s foreign minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, said after a summit in Accra to respond to the crisis.

Meanwhile on Sunday it was reported that West African leaders will meet and discuss on how to respond to a coup in Mali.

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.

Assimi Goita, was named interim Malian president after leading the takeover last week.

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.

Bitcoin falls 5.2% to $33,849, Ether down 6.3%
30 May 2021, 4:30 AM

Bitcoin dipped 5.16% to $33 849.47 at 18:00 GMT on Saturday, losing $1 842.99 from its previous close.

Ether , the coin linked to the ethereum blockchain network, dropped 6.26% to $2 262.06 on Saturday, losing $151.11 from its previous close.

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, is down 47.8% from the year’s high of $64 895.22 on April 14.

It has been less volatile in the past week but losses this month have been heavy at 38%, driven by growing regulatory pressures on the sector.

It is trading at levels last seen in January and at roughly half its peak value.

Krejcikova wins maiden WTA title in Strasbourg
30 May 2021, 3:00 AM

Barbora Krejcikova gave her French Open preparations a huge boost when she won her maiden WTA title at the Strasbourg International on Saturday with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Sorana Cirstea.

Krejcikova did not have the perfect match, with 10 double faults, as windy conditions in the open-air arena made serving difficult, but the Czech fifth seed converted six of 13 break points to deny her Romanian opponent a third singles title.

Krejcikova, 25, used her deep ground strokes well to force Cirstea to scramble for returns and combined that strategy with finesse at the net.

“I feel very emotional, really happy. It was an amazing week for me,” Krejcikova, who fought back from a set down twice in the tournament to win her matches, said at the trophy presentation ceremony.

“I don’t have many words, I’m shaking, super excited to win my first WTA title.”

Cirstea never got a grip on the match with her unforced error count rising with every game as she finished with 44 in all.

Krejcikova fired 22 winners, including one on match point as she screamed in delight in front of a handful of fans in attendance.

Krejcikova is up against her compatriot Kristyna Pliskova in the first round of the French Open, which begins on Sunday, while Cirstea takes on British 19th seed Johanna Konta.

US agency says employers can mandate COVID-19 vaccination
30 May 2021, 2:15 AM

US companies can mandate that employees in a workplace must be vaccinated against COVID-19, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said on Friday.

The EEOC, in a statement posted on its website explaining its updated guidance, said employees can be required to be vaccinated as long as employers comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws.

In addition, employers may offer incentives to workers to be vaccinated, as long as they are not coercive, it said.

The vast majority of employers have been reluctant to require workers to be vaccinated.

A survey by management-side law firm Fisher Phillips earlier this year found that only 9% of the more than 700 employers surveyed said they were considering mandating vaccines.

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