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People in public transport at high risk of being infected with coronavirus: Expert
5 March 2020, 8:18 PM

With the first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) confirmed in the country, Johannesburg commuters have shared differing views on their awareness of the virus that originated from Wuhan, China.

According to the Head of Infectious Disease at Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Professor Anton Stoltz, people in public transport are at a high risk of being infected.

“Compared to TB and other diseases, in a closed environment there could be a lot of droplets and a lot of contacts so most probably there is a greater chance that you will infect yourself.”

Stoltz says more research is being done about the disease. Stoltz says it is important for people not to panic but to take precautions regarding the virus. Audio: 

How informed are commuters on COVID-19

SABC reporter Dini Mekuto went out to the taxi rank to get commuters’ view on the outbreak.

Bongeka Khethelo says she knows nothing about COVID-19. “I do not know anything about Coronavirus. I just hear people talking about it. But they say if you cough, do not hesitate to go and see the doctor.”

Another commuter who works in Rosebank, Johannesburg, Makhosonke Maseko says he has been reading a lot on the disease and knows that it originates from China.

“All I know is that it has flu-ish symptoms and can be spread through breathing.”

Maseko says he has heard that there are measures one can take to prevent themselves from being infected with the virus. “I heard we need to pile up on vitamin C, and stock up on sanitisers.”

Nokwanda Ncube, an informal trader says people with flu-like symptoms need to see a doctor immediately. “They must be quarantined. What I know is that it is like TB, but spreads quicker than TB. If one has flu-like symptoms, they should go to a medical facility to check if they do not have coronavirus.”

Ncube says most of the information she heard about the coronavirus is from television.

Precaution to take 

Professor Stoltz says not any sanitiser would work. He emphasises on the concentration of alcohol in the sanitiser.

Audio of Stoltz on the alcohol content of the sanitiser:

Skepticism

Skhumbuzo Mhlanga says he doesn’t know much about the coronavirus, but has his reservations. “It’s something they made up to get rid of foreigners as a population control measure.”

He says he hasn’t seen concrete proof of the existence of the outbreak, adding that he received information on it from social media, hence his skepticism on the virus.

Protect yourself

People have been advised to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water or a hand sanitiser with high alcohol content.

African countries with confirmed cases of Coronavirus:

 

 

From idea to revenue, the business of YouTube comedy skits
26 February 2020, 7:36 PM

Ofentse and Nelisiwe Mwase have built a significant following on YouTube with their channel amassing over 270 000 followers in the three years of its existence.

Their channel, Ofentse Mwase Films, is at the forefront of comedy skit productions in South Africa.

The Johannesburg-based film production business is family-owned and prides itself on high-quality content that is relatable to a global audience.

Nelisiwe Mwase, co-owner of the business, says their reach is universal. “Most of our viewers are from America, other African countries and Australia is a growing market,” she says.

Her younger sister, Bridget Mahlangu is a make-up artist and actress in the business. Her main character is a young slay queen, named after her.

Mahlangu says ‘Bri-Bri’ is inspired by South African slay queens who are addicted to the high life.

“Bri-Bri is 80% slay queen and 20% me.”

The two sisters are the biggest female characters in the comedy skit channel culture in the country, with the most popular channels being dominated by male Youtubers.

One such media entrepreneur and social media influencer is Lasizwe Dambuza. With over 300 000 followers on YouTube alone, Lasizwe has really made his numbers count in his favour.

In 2019, he scored a lucrative partnership deal with retailer Game. The partnership came through the popularity of his most loved character, a feisty supermarket till operator, Nomatriquency.

Dambuza says people love Nomatriquency because she is relatable.

“The special thing about her is how ghetto and ratchet she is. She has that ‘I want to be heard and seen’ energy.”

KZN becoming popular 

Unlike in traditional television, Johannesburg is not the focal point in the growth of this online content category. Many channels from KwaZulu-Natal are becoming popular.

MDM Sketch Comedy is fast approaching the 300 000 subscribers count, whilst Durban based Leon Gumede, who is sitting at 163 000 subscribers left his artisan job as a welder to pursue YouTube comedy content creation full-time.

Every comedy sketch creator’s favourite, Ta Fire Deli says their content is more than just comedy. He explains that it is a healing mechanism for many students going through depression at tertiary institutions across the country.

“I usually get messages on social media from people at varsity who say this content that we do helps them get through difficult situations. Some are depressed, but when they see our content, they get instant relief and healing. It makes it worthwhile and motivates me to want to create more.”

In the compiled video below, South African YouTube comedy skit creators explain the business side of things:

The rise and popularity of comedy skit channels, from idea to revenue

The Mwase's have built a following on YouTube with their channel, Ofentse Mwase Films amassing over 270k followers in the three years of its existence.

Posted by SABC News Online on Wednesday, 26 February 2020

 

load shedding
City Power succumbs to load shedding, implements stage 2
3 February 2020, 3:29 PM

Johannesburg’s City Power has implemented stage 2 load shedding owing to a loss of generating capacity at the Kelvin substation.

As a result, the city’s residents will no longer be granted a reprieve from load shedding.

“City Power receives electricity from two lines at the Kelvin power station which contributes about 10% with the rest coming from Eskom. We lost one of the lines which was impacted by the damage to the 275kv Prospect/Sebenza Line. That happened on Saturday night. The other line did not recover from that damage so it’s now currently out and only one has been commissioned,” says City Power spokesperson, Isaac Mangena.

PILOT PROGRAMME

Meanwhile, Eskom says it will suspend stage 2 load shedding for two hours from 16h00 until 18h00 in an effort to ease traffic congestion as part of a pilot programme.

According to Eskom, this respite from load shedding will be given “during early morning and evening traffic periods from 06h00-09h00 and 16h00-18h00 when possible” as “a pilot programme aimed at achieving an appropriate load shedding philosophy for the country”.

Eskom has stated that although it may not be able to do this everyday, it will update South Africans regularly.

Coronavirus outbreak: What you need to know
30 January 2020, 8:00 PM

Government has sought to allay the fears of South Africans following the Novel Coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed at least 170 lives in China.

The virus broke out from Wuhan city, mainland China, and has since spread to several countries.

On Wednesday, Health Department Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize  set out his department’s plan to deal with a possible outbreak in South Africa.

Mkhize says South Africa is fully prepared to respond to possible coronavirus cases.

Every province in the country has a designated hospital to deal with the virus, with Gauteng allocated three health facilities.

SABC News has put together this multimedia platform to help you understand the virus and what you can do to protect yourself as well as where you should go for help in case you suspect that you have been infected.


Watch Minister Zweli Mkhize’s briefing on SA’s readiness for a possible coronavirus outbreak:

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize holds a media briefing on Coronavirus | 31 January 2020: 

Coronavirus | China’s ambassador to SA gives update on efforts to fight the virus:

See map below for designated hospitals:

 


See the explainer infographic below on the Novel Coronavirus:

Facebook marks Data Privacy Day with updates to privacy settings
28 January 2020, 9:05 PM

Tuesday marks Data Privacy Day and in marking the day questions have been raised on how safe an end-user’s information is online.

The safety concerns come at the back of data breach scandals, like the 2018 Facebook-Cambridge Analytica saga.

Cambridge Analytica had harvested the personal information of 50 million people on Facebook without their consent and used it to influence US voters.

WorldWideWorx Data Analyst Bryan Turner says social media users have the ability to protect their information from being shared on other online platforms.

“There are systems in place to restrict companies from abusing ones privacy, but unfortunately, those are generally hidden deep in the settings and one almost has to be a power user to find them.”

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow users to minimise the exposure their information gets from third parties. For example, one can set that their account details not be shared with search engines.

Facebook is currently doing improvements on its platform to better protect its 2.4 billion users from these privacy issues.

Listen to Bryan Turner on how to control data privacy on social media platforms:

Facebook updates  privacy settings

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the social media platform is starting the decade by giving the user more control over their privacy. In a statement released on Tuesday, Zuckerberg says their “goals for the next decade is to build much stronger privacy protections for everyone on Facebook. We know we have a lot of work to do here, which is why this is such a priority for our teams and for me personally.”

He says they will be sending a prompt for People to Review Their Privacy Settings.

“This makes it even easier to adjust who can see your posts and profile information, strengthen your account security by turning on login alerts, and review the information you share with apps you’ve logged in to with Facebook.”

Facebook says the move was influenced by the company’s commitment in ensuring that their users have transparency on how the internet works.

“…and to help them (Facebook users) make informed choices about their privacy.”

The South African government is also playing its part by putting in place legislation that aims to protect citizens from data breaches. It’s using legal frameworks like the EU’S General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and South Africa’s POPI Act (Protection Of Personal Information Act) to do this.

Turner says although the efforts are commendable, the laws are limited in their scope because of jurisdictions.

Listen to Bryan Turner on audio link below:

He says as long as there is information shared on the internet, there the risk of information being used for financial gain or otherwise will always be there.

Turner advises internet users to look at alternative browsers, like Duckduck Go, which protects an individual’s search history by not giving it out to other parties for targeted marketing.

Weather

 

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