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HSRC launches online survey on COVID-19
29 March 2020, 1:24 PM

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) has launched an online campaign to gather information around the coronavirus (COVID-19) to be better prepared for the epidemic.

The council says it expects that individuals, communities, and businesses will be affected by the progression of this disease. They are now looking for input from South Africans that can access the survey online.

As of Saturday, some 1187 South Africans have been infected by the new coronavirus.

The United States now has more than 124 000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 10 000 people in Italy have died from the disease.

In the video below is a discussion on how the US is responding to the lockdown:

To take part in the survey, go to the HSRC’s page on surveymonkey.

The council says no personal information will be recorded and answers to the questions are anonymous.

The South African Human Rights Commission says it is concerned by the devastating impact of the coronavirus:

In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, the South African government declared a national state of emergency on March 15, 2020.

Measures included the partial closure of borders, the closing of schools and prohibitions on events involving more than 100 people gathering.


Traditional practitioners urged to stop misleading people over cure for COVID-19
29 March 2020, 12:35 PM

The Traditional Health Practitioners organisation is calling on all healers that claim to have a cure for the coronavirus (COVID-19) to refrain from misleading people.

The practitioner’s general-secretary, Solly Nduku, has issued a stern warning that anyone who misleads communities to make money at the expense of the plight of the people, will be dealt with by the organisation and the laws of the country.

“They must refrain from false and misleading claims of having powers to cure or knowing how to cure or treat COVID-19. We do not want our age-old African traditional practices to be dragged in the mud by people whose aim is to make money by any means necessary.

“We call on community members to dismiss such charlatans for who they are. They are dangerous impostors who will drive people to their graves. We must all remain at home so that we disrupt the transmission of this deadly virus.”

Myths about the coronavirus

Myths around the risks of coronavirus have been doing the rounds on social media. This is what you need to know about the virus.

Below are some of the myths

  • The virus is very fragile outside the human body, which means you can’t get it from a package or an envelope.
  • Drinking miracle solution will protect you from the coronavirus.
  • Pets can catch and spread the coronavirus.
  • Antibiotics can prevent or treat the new coronavirus.
  • Eating garlic or rinsing your nose with saline will reduce your chances of contracting the virus.

Below are things you need to know about Coronavirus:

As scientists continue to come up with a vaccine for the coronavirus, the virus has claimed over 10 000 lives in Italy.

*Older people and those with other health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are most vulnerable to the virus.

*Face masks aren’t that useful even though you might see people wearing them in China.

*There is limited evidence that face masks work.

*For you to get the virus, you have to be in close contact with an infected person.

*Also, it’s important to cover your mouth and nose while sneezing, with a tissue or your elbow.

*Wash your hands frequently before eating with soap or sanitiser and always keep your distance from people who are coughing and sneezing.

*The new coronavirus is thought to have originated in a live animal market in Wuhan, China.

*Scientists are working hard to develop a vaccine for the new virus.


Australia says social distancing helps to slow coronavirus spread
29 March 2020, 12:19 PM

The rate of spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Australia has halved in recent days, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday as he announced an additional A$1.1 billion ($680 million) to expand telemedicine care and other health services.

The daily increase in cases in recent days was at about 13%-15%, down from 25%-30% seen a week ago, showing social distancing measures were working, Morrison said.

“These are still strong rates of increase, no doubt about that,” Morrison said in televised remarks.

There were 3,809 confirmed cases in Australia early on Sunday, 431 more than in the previous day, according to health ministry. 16 deaths were attributable to the virus, health officials said.

Neighbouring New Zealand saw its first death related to the coronavirus on Sunday, with cases rising to 514 confirmed infections.

Two-thirds of the cases in Australia have been traced to contact with people returning from overseas, government officials said.

State leaders, however, are worried about the recent rise in community transmission, especially in the most populous New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, where more than half of Australia’s 25.5 million people live.

Australia has introduced a series of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, but state and federal governments have sent some mixed messages about social distancing and other containment measures, leading to widespread confusion.

Morrison said on Sunday that all of Australia’s six states and two territories were working to keep actions consistent, but rising case numbers may require individual states to takea dditional actions “sooner than other states”.

Australian media reported on Sunday a number of fines were given to people for breaching quarantines after states moved last week to implement ad hoc fines and even jail terms for individuals and businesses not complying with the rules.

Below is a tracking map from Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering:

Red Cross calls for help to curb COVID-19
29 March 2020, 10:45 AM
First US prisoner dies of COVID-19
29 March 2020, 7:08 AM

Patrick Jones, a 49-year-old prisoner in Louisiana who was serving a 27-year prison term for a drug charge, became the first federal inmate to die from COVID-19, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced late on Saturday.

A total of 14 inmates and 13 staff in federal prisons across the United States have fallen ill with the virus, according to the BOP’s website. Jones was serving his prison sentence at a low security facility in Oakdale, Louisiana, and first developed symptoms on March 19, the BOP said.

Jones had been in Oakdale since April 2017, after he was convicted in Texas for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute within 1 000 feet of a junior college. The BOP said he had long-term pre-existing conditions that made him a higher risk.

He was transported to a local hospital after complaining about a persistent cough on March 19, and placed on a ventilator the next day after his condition worsened. He passed away on Saturday, the BOP said in a press release.

According to the BOP’s website on Saturday, there were five inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 at Oakdale. Criminal justice advocates and prison union officials have in recent days called on the Justice Department to do more to try and prevent the spread of the virus.

The BOP has implemented some new policies, such as temporarily halting prison visits and requiring new inmates to undergo a 14-day quarantine.



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