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SA COVID-19 death toll rises to 12, with 31 more cases confirmed
6 April 2020, 10:14 PM

The number of coronavirus cases in South Africa has increased by 31, bringing the number to 1 686. In a statement, the Department of Health has also announced another death of a 57-year-old man from the Western Cape.

KwaZulu-Natal accounts for the most deaths with 7 fatalities followed by the Western Cape with 3. Gauteng and the Free State each have one death from coronavirus.

Gauteng currently has 713 cases, followed by the Western Cape with 462 cases.

Correctional official test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Services says one of its officials at the East London Correctional Centre in the Eastern Cape has tested positive for coronavirus.

The department says people who came into contact with the woman are being traced and will be quarantined. Mass screening and testing will take place tomorrow* at the East London Female Correctional Centre.

The National Institute for Communicable Disease will commence with mass screening and testing on Wednesday at East London Female Correctional Centre.

Take necessary precautions

Evangelical preacher Angus Buchan has described people who do not want to be in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 as selfish. Buchan tested positive for the virus after he attended a mass gathering in March, in Bloemfontein, where African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader Kenneth Meshoe was also a guest of honour.

Buchan and his wife went into isolation. He says he is in high spirits at home in isolation with his wife Jill, who also tested positive.

He encourages others who test positive to be calm and take all the necessary precautions.

“Since I have had the virus I can identify with many millions of people right around the globe who have got it. God has been really good to me. There have been no symptoms. I just want to encourage all the listeners that they must keep their eyes on Jesus. This terrible plate will pass by and South Africa will continue. And I want to say to the people not to be worried they need to isolate themselves, because that’s what the government requires. I fully support that because it’s a selfish thing if you do not isolate yourself. ”

Vavi’s condition improving

South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, who is battling coronavirus, says his condition has improved from Sunday when he was admitted to hospital.

The trade union leader was diagnosed with coronavirus last Thursday. His condition deteriorated over the weekend after he experienced a high fever and had shortness of breath.

Vavi says he will be discharged and recover at home.

“The doctors, after testing, expressed some concerns about the levels of oxygen in my body and there was a clear infection in the lungs. So I went to some treatment overnight and further observation. This morning, they are happy, I’m going home I will be discharged and I will continue to be in isolation.”

In the video below, Vavi says he is going to rely on the support of family to continue fighting against the virus: 

Adhere to regulations

Meanwhile, veteran politician Mangosuthu Buthelezi has  also added his voice to calls on people to respect the coronavirus lockdown regulations. Over 17 000 people countrywide have been arrested thus far for breaking the lockdown regulations.

At the weekend, 53 people were arrested in eNseleni, outside Richards Bay, for holding a wedding.

In the video below, the bride is among those nabbed for failing to adhere to coronavirus regulations: 

Buthelezi says it is unfortunate that some people are making a mockery of the situation on social media.

” We should all praise our head of state Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa for the step he has taken towards this pandemic. I think all our people should be united in listening what the government is saying because the government is saying this not to get votes, but in order to protect ourselves , all of us. We thank the Minister of Police in particular for the stance he has taken. It is a tragedy that in spite of this there are some of our people who really do not behave as if they see, that they themselves  are in, who think this is a joke when it is not a joke at all.”



Arms firm Denel to produce ventilators in coronavirus fight
6 April 2020, 8:20 PM

South Africa’s Denel will design and develop medical ventilators in partnership with other state-owned entities, research bodies and medical technology companies to help treat coronavirus patients, the state arms and technology company said on Sunday.

Governments and hospitals globally have pleaded with manufacturers to speed up production of ventilators to cope with a surge in patients struggling to breathe.

Group Chief Executive of Danie du Toit said in a statement engineers from Denel Dynamics and Denel Aeronautics were already working round the clock on Project Sabela to produce the ventilators, without giving a target figure.

“We are still in the early stages of the project, but we are optimistic that this local initiative will help to alleviate the dire need for medical ventilators that are required in great numbers at both public and private hospitals,” Du Toit said.

A task force has been formed consisting of experts from Denel, Armscor, which acquires defence materiel on behalf of the Department of Defence, power utility Eskom, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and other entities to investigate designs and produce a prototype of a local medical ventilator.

Du Toit said he was confident the team would soon make huge strides in producing the ventilators at a time of global shortages.

On Saturday, the African Union (AU) called for international cooperation and support while up scaling local production of medical supplies and equipment on the continent given the urgent need  for it.

Denel, a cornerstone of South Africa’s once-mighty defence industry, is also considering other initiatives in which it could re-purpose its current operations and technology to assist the national effort to tackle to health crisis.

This includes looking at options to produce sanitisers for industrial and medical uses once product certification issues have been clarified and converting Casspir mine-protected vehicles into ambulances, the firm said. South Africa has reported 1 686 coronavirus cases as of late Saturday, with 12 deaths.

The ministry of health has approached President Cyril Ramaphosa to assist the department “with mobilising reinforcements” from various countries such as Cuba and China, it said on Saturday.

On the same day, Ramaphosa said he spoke to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and “asked for technical expertise on infection control, supply of lifesaving equipment for mobile testing and infection control.” South African officials have imposed some of the toughest anti-coronavirus measures on the continent, including a 21-day”stay at home” lockdown that started on March 27.

More than 8 000 cases of coronavirus in Africa, 399 deaths: WHO
6 April 2020, 7:30 PM

Coronavirus has claimed 399 lives so far in Africa.  According to statistics from the World Health Organisation, there are 8 916 confirmed cases of the virus on the continent.

Since the outbreak of the virus in 2019, there have been concerns about the ability of the continent to deal with the spread given the continent’s health infrastructure challenges.

The world body has also expressed concern over rate of increase not just between countries, but also within different localities in the hardest-hit countries.

In South Africa, all provinces have now reported cases. The outbreaks in Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Senegal are also reported to be widespread.

“Case numbers are increasing exponentially in the African region,” says the World Health Organisation’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti.

“It took 16 days from the first confirmed case in the region to reach 100 cases. It took a further 10 days to reach the first 1 000. Three days after this, there were 2 000 cases and two days later, we were t 3 000.”

In the video below, the United Nations expresses concern about the impact of the coronavirus in Africa: 

South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt’s number of confirmed cases have gone beyond the 1 000 mark. While South Africa has the highest number of confirmed infections at 1 655, Algeria is leading when it comes to the number of deaths, with 130 deaths and 1 251 cases.

South Africa has so far recorded 11 deaths.

Other countries that are continuing to see an increased number of cases include Morocco with 960 cases, Cameroon with 650 cases and Tunisia with 553 cases.

In order to contain the spread of the virus, countries in the region have introduced regulations, which limit the movement of people. South Africa is currently on its 11th day of the 21 days lockdown.

Other countries, which have instituted partial and complete lockdowns include Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Botswana has been swift with its response to the pandemic. The country’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi last Thursday announced an indefinite State of Public Emergency and a 28 days lockdown. The country has four confirmed cases and one death.

While the number of deaths increases across the world, there are 13 countries in Africa which have not reported any deaths. These include Rwanda which has 102 cases, Madagascar with 77 cases and Uganda with 48 cases.

South Sudan has the least number of confirmed infections with just one case, followed by Burundi with just three cases. The World Health Organisation has reiterated its call for countries to work together in the fight against the deadly virus.

















Tributes pour in for former Jam Alley presenter ‘V- Mash’
6 April 2020, 7:01 PM

Tributes are pouring in for television personality, Vinolia Mashego.  V- Mash, as Mashego was affectionately known, died on Friday at the age of 56. Several of her colleagues and friends announced her death on social media.


The cause of the death is still unknown but she is said to have passed on in her sleep.

Mashego is famously known for presenting the music show, Jam Alley, in the 90s. She has also graced television screens with roles on various shows, including Generations and Isibaya.

Her most recent gig was Bheka Sikubambile on Moja Love.

The Department of Arts and Culture has described Mashego as a pioneer of the television industry .

Mashego is being remembered for her bubbly personality and energy both on and off the screen.

Obtaining a meal is a daily struggle for some South Africans stuck in foreign countries
6 April 2020, 4:15 PM

The global lockdown as a result of the deadly coronavirus has meant that thousands of South Africans remain stranded in countries around the world.

According to Home Away from Home , an organisation formed by a group of South African volunteers , the situation for more than 2 000 citizens remains dire.

Many left the country searching for work, while others wanted to escape the soaring crime rate.

In just five months, the globe has reported more than one million cases of coronavirus, and almost 57 000 deaths.

While countries around the world declared national lockdowns in an attempt to stop the spread, the grounding of flights has left thousands of South Africans stranded in countries around the world.

Home Away from Home is an organisation formed by South African volunteers under the leadership Darren Bergman, the Democratic Alliance’s Shadow Minister of International Relations and Co-operation.

Figures released by the organisation suggest that more than 2 500 South Africans are stranded in more than 130 countries. With no accommodation and funds running out, each day away from home is a battle to survive.

For 32-year-old Monja Brink formerly from Cape Town, 2020 was meant to be a fresh start in Thailand.

However, COVID-19 has left her jobless and homeless in a foreign country with little money to survive each passing day.

“Some of us like myself, came here to work, earn a living and start a new life. With Corona, companies have closed and millions have lost their jobs, I am one of them. At the moment I am in an airport motel. Being stuck in a foreign country where you don’t understand their language, food is an issue, it is terrifying. Not knowing when you are  going home, I have no work so I have nowhere to turn. No one to help me. I packed up everything in SA, sold everything, left my partner behind, came here for an amazing job opportunity, within 3.5 weeks, all those dreams were crushed. I am on chronic medication, when that runs out, I  will not be able to pay for it. “

For other South Africans desperately wanting to return home, obtaining a meal remains a daily struggle. Twenty-two-year-old marketer Tinita Sieberhagen has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and since the outbreak of COVID-19, her health has taken a turn for the worse. Sieberhagen is trapped in Cambodia, a country slowly starting to shutdown, after confirming 116 cases of COVID-19.

” I got diagnosed with ovarian cancer and endometriosis, since being in Cambodia, I have had to put a pause on all my health, because funds have never been enough. Even now, it’s between do I eat or go to the doctor. After the virus broke out, I started getting sick. In February I went to the hospital. I needed treatment, but I needed to out more money down. At the moment my pass port is being held at the hospital. Also suffering from depression, some days I cannot get out of my bed. To be honest, I really just want to go home.”

Twenty-six-year-old Nkosivumile William Tshawe is on a growing list of 120 South Africans stranded in Vietnam. The young teacher from Port Elizabeth remains under lockdown in a country with more than 240 confirmed cases.

Tshwane is now also jobless and is currently being taken care by a fellow South African. Without a plane ticket, the wait to return home will be much longer.

“Some of us need medical help, its not easy – I was on a budget. It should have lasted me two months because I should have received my first salary. This is tough for a lot of people, we have been in isolation for a long time. With finances being low, depression, loneliness, it’s a lot, it’s too much. This is painful, I am one of the people that was almost homeless.”

The International Relations and Co-operation Department (DIRCO) says thus far, South Africans have been repatriated from United Arab Emirates, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Qatar and Nigeria.

In  the video below, Minister Naledi Pandor says government is working to bring back South Africans stuck abroad: 

Spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele says the process of assisting South Africans to return home will continue.

“We continue to try and find other means to ensure that all South Africans who are stranded are brought back home. We are talking to various governments who are repatriating their citizens from South Africa so that we can use the same flights to bring South Africans back from those countries. We are working hard to ensure that we speak to other governments to allow South Africans to fly to areas where there are many South Africans so that they can be fetched.”

DIRCO says for now, the priority remains to assist those stuck at airports, students and the elderly. For the rest,  the wait to be rescued is expected to be long, painful and agonising.



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