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Macro
Retailers running dry as consumers are stocking in bulk
16 March 2020, 7:14 PM

Retailers are running out of stock as consumers rush to buy essentials. As the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in South Africa continues to rise, store shelves are running empty as scores of people rush to buy supplies in bulk.

The number of confirmed cases in the country now stands at 62 with two possible cases of local transmission being investigated. In Woodmead, north of Johannesburg, wholesalers such as Makro and Pick n Pay Hyper have run out of products such as hand sanitisers and other alcohol-based cleaning supplies.

At Makro, lines have been zigzagging in the entire store up to the entrance, something one of the workers describes as a first since he started working here over ten years ago. Most people could be seen with loads of handwashing products and long shelf-life foods on their trolley.

Some other products that are selling like hotcakes are multi-vitamin pills. Many stood for hours filling their trolleys as the infection rate continues to grow in the country.

One of those who were involved in the panic buy was City of Joburg former MMC for Community Safety, Michael Sun.

“I have been, for over a week, trying to go to the local pharmacy and chemists, hand sanitisers and alcohol rubs there was nothing on the shelves. We do understand that the normal soap will do the work but there are places where there’s no water,” says Sun.

Many stores have seen shelves emptied as consumers stock-up. Sun and many others have been on the line for over two hours, something that usually takes less than 30 minutes on a normal day.

“As we stand here at Makro the queue is up to the entrance and I could not find one sanitiser in the shop. So we continue looking and we will continue to wash our hands with soap,” says Sun.

Gallery images of retail shops:

However, this shopper has a different view when it comes to panic buying.

“I was moving around shops in the Joburg are it seems and hand sanitisers and products that we use for cleaning have been sold out because people are panicking. And that worries me as a consumer,” says the shopper.

Meanwhile, Massmart, the company behind Makro says it has noticed a significant increase in the demand for hygiene cleaners and products associated with the Covid-19 virus on their online store. Massmart Spokesperson, Refilwe Boikanyo says they are coping with the demand.

In this video below South Africans stock up amid coronavirus outbreak:

Nedlac warns against panic buying

The National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) has warned the public against panic buying due to the coronavirus outbreak, that has left shelves in many retail stores empty.

Nedlac held an emergency meeting with stakeholders in Rosebank Johannesburg on Monday. Executive Director Lisa Seftel says panic buying will aggravate the situation.

“Very important public message is that there should be no panic buying because that will disrupt supply. The fourth area relates to the need for our workplaces to adapt. There was a consensus that we can’t regard this as workplaces as usual that we should encourage where possible working from home short time shift work online.”

Oscar Mabuyane
EC Premier announces strict measures to curb coronavirus outbreak
16 March 2020, 5:49 PM

Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, has announced strict measures as part of the drive to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak to the province. The ports of entry into the province, including its three harbours, will be strictly monitored.

Mabuyane says all three spheres of government are working endlessly to address the issue.

The Eastern Cape is yet to record an infection.

It’s all hands on deck as the province hopes to keep the virus out. But the risk remains extremely high. The government is also focussing on tightening security at all entry points to the province.

Premier Mabuyane says the province is ready to deal with this deadly virus.

“To ensure that we are tightening up our securities and screening processes in those ports, we would want to extend to airports as well to those who might be coming in to ensure that we are able to contain this as we can as a provincial government. We will continue to work with managers of our ports to ensure that all vessels coming to our province through ports are processed and tested for coronavirus,” says Mabuyane.

Mabuyane says that drought-stricken areas will also receive special attention. He says they are ready to quarantine those who might test positive to the virus.

“We are making it very clear that those who are found immediately … (if) they are found to be positive, they will be quarantined,” says Mabuyane.

Health MEC, Sindiswa Gomba says there is sufficient equipment to address this outbreak.

“In a sense, what we are putting up is roadblocks into the connection of the Eastern Cape and in those roadblocks, we want to mend them through a three-phased approach: police, traffics and SANDF. We have ports of entry that we have to look at. We do have ports in East London and Port Elizabeth … those areas have to have the kind of system where our people have to be tested (sic),” says Gomba.

Speaker of the Legislature, Helen Sauls-August says they have postponed a number of events, for at least a month that were set to take place.

“All the decisions that we have taken are but precautionary, to curb the spread of the coronavirus. And in here, in the legislature internally, the management of the institution met this morning with the executive of our internal union Nehawu to discuss with them ways and means of. We should be addressing our employees and making sure that the message goes out there and we, as an institution, are prepared to ensure that the environment is safe for our employees,” says Sauls-August.

The automotive sector and the provincial executive are to meet later this week to discuss measures to mitigate the effects of the virus. Vehicle manufacturers in the province have not been impacted yet by the effects of the virus and production continues, but all the manufacturers are keeping a close eye on local and global developments. The regional secretary for Numsa, Mzi Twani says workers are very concerned.

“For now, employers have been talking to our shop stewards … (they) have been confirming that production will run smoothly and that nothing will happen; no short time, no layoffs, but we are uncertain about how long will that last,” says Twani.

The government has also warned people about spreading and creating falsehoods regarding the virus.

Coronavirus: countries affected by SA travel ban:


Copy of epidemic v pendamic by SABC Digital News

Blade Nzimande
Students’ union calls for shut down of universities and colleges
16 March 2020, 3:41 PM

The South African Union of Students (SAUS) has called on all universities and other institutions such as TVET Colleges to immediately close to avoid putting students at risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Some institutions, including Wits University, the University of Johannesburg, KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Town, have already temporarily cancelled all classes and tests.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the coronavirus outbreak a national disaster on Sunday night.

62 confirmed cases have now been reported in the country.

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise across the country, the South African Union of Students (SAUS) has made a clarion call to all universities and institutions of higher learning to shut their doors, until further notice.

SAUS says this is the only way to ensure that students aren’t at risk of contracting the virus. Spokesperson Thabo Shingange says they are concerned as a union.

“As a union, we are concerned about the rapid increase and the spread of the coronavirus across the country and across the globe. So, as the union, our position is simple; close down the universities and they must utilise other means of engagement, be it online submissions of assignments and so on, but the academic programme must go on, but it cannot continue when it puts students health at risk. So, they must take the matter seriously. Universities are closed until there is a serious plan to deal with the coronavirus on our campuses,” says Shingange.

In Johannesburg, Wits University is advising students to self-quarantine to avoid contracting the virus. A medical student at the University has tested positive for the virus.

However, the National Department of Health is yet to conduct its own testing. Wits Spokesperson Shirona Patel says all students have been requested to stay at home.

“All students are requested to remain at home or to confine themselves at their rooms and residences. Students are encouraged to follow the social distance guidelines and to limit interaction where this is possible. Special arrangements are being made for students who usually eat in dining halls. Wits University will keep the public informed as to plans from Tuesday onwards after consultation with the department of health and the department of higher education and training. The university asks all students and staff to exercise caution and not to panic,” says Shirona.

Coronavirus WhatsApp number:

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The Student Representative Council (SRC) at Wits has welcomed management’s decision to cancel all classes. Secretary General of the SRC, Katie Morgets, says although they welcome the decision to cancel classes, it may have a detrimental impact on their academic programme.

“We are very pleased that the university has heeded to the call in order to limit further exposure to the virus which could affect the lives of many students, negatively so. However, we are very conscious of the fact that this also impedes on the very academic programme that we are trying to achieve and not obviously impact negatively,” says Morgets.

Countries affected by SA travel ban:


Copy of epidemic v pendamic by SABC Digital News

The University of KwaZulu-Natal has also suspended all academic activities until further notice.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nana Poku, says in a statement that the decision has been taken to limit the possible spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, the management of the University of Zululand, on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal will meet on Monday, to make a decision about the suspension of academic activities.

Other universities including the University of Johannesburg and the University of Cape Town have also temporarily suspended their academic programmes, with more expected to soon follow suit. However, despite calls for universities to completely shut down, Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande, says a decision is yet to be taken.

“We will have to meet with the sector tomorrow morning to actually look at a comprehensive way to move forward on this situation but let me highlight what we have agreed upon in light of what the president had said and the other work we have been doing. Firstly, we have said that contact in institutions must be limited. And we are urging that all institutions should suspend all contact lectures as well as minimise contact with students but we are not yet planning a shutdown,” says Nzimande.

In this video below plans to prevent COVID-19 at tertiary institutions are discussed by Nzimande:

Irvin Khoza
PSL suspends upcoming fixtures
16 March 2020, 3:01 PM

All ABSA Premier League soccer matches have been suspended until further notice due to the spread of the coronavirus. This was announced by PSL chairman, Irvin Khoza in Parktown, Johannesburg, on Monday.

The announcement follows a decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night that all gatherings of more than 100 people are now prohibited due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

The games tomorrow and Wednesday are all suspended. All games over this coming weekend are also suspended.

Khoza says there will be an urgent meeting of the executive committee and the board of governors on Thursday the 19th.

“The league also took a decision that the Diski challenge on its own which is a separate thing is discontinued immediately but the issues that affect the leave itself will be canvassed with the board of governors on Thursday,” says Khoza.

A meeting on Thursday will take place to discuss further implementations.

In this video below PSL chairman addresses the media:

Many sporting federations around the world have put on hold fixtures with the hope that they’ll be able to resume in April.

Two high profile PSL matches are immediately affected. Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates are supposed to clash at Loftus Versveld on Tuesday evening, while Chiefs are down to host Bidvest Wits on Wednesday.

The Diski Challenge, however, has been discontinued with immediate effect. The South African Football Association has also issued a statement, advising all members to suspend all football matches and events attended by more than 100 people.

 

Marathon
Two Oceans Marathon cancelled amid COVID 19 global spread
15 March 2020, 3:12 PM

The Two Oceans Marathon scheduled for the 8th to the 11th of April in Cape Town has been cancelled due to concerns about the global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19.)

Organisers say an emergency meeting has been held with the Two Oceans Marathon NPC board on Saturday. In a statement issued on the event’s website, Race Director Debra Barnes says they have consulted with public health experts and authorities before arriving at their decision.

She says the safety of competitors, staff, sponsors and the global community are important.

Over-50s Cricket World Cup Cancelled

The Over-50s Cricket World Cup being staged in and around Cape Town has also been cancelled with immediate effect because of COVID-19. The organising committee took the decision during the course of the third round of matches which were then abandoned after the first innings.

They say the decision was taken to protect the players given their age demographic. Seven of the 11 visiting teams have been staying in the same Cape Town hotel. Organisers say appropriate precautions have been taken and they will remain there until arrangements can be made for their repatriation.

Meanwhile, England’s cricket players were heading home after their tour of Sri Lanka was called off.

Coronavirus timeline in South Africa:

Other cancelled sporting codes

Golf’s jewel in the crown The Masters and English soccer’s Premier League joined the lengthening list of elite sporting events to fall foul of the coronavirus pandemic on Friday.

England’s hugely-popular Premier League announced it was suspending matches until April 4, while soccer’s European governing body UEFA said that next week’s matches in the Champions League and Europa League would not be played.

The unprecedented shutdown of world sport in response to the coronavirus spread that has infected 138,000 people and killed more than 5,000 also prompted FIFA to recommended that all international matches scheduled to be played in March and April be postponed.

Soccer’s world governing body said that clubs would not be obliged to release players for any games that go ahead.

Organisers also postponed two of the biggest running events on the calendar, the marathons in Boston and London, which regularly draw tens of thousands of participants, including some of the world’s top athletes.

This weekend’s Grand Prix season opener in Australia was also cancelled hours before the first practice session.

This weekend’s Six Nations rugby match between Wales and Scotland was postponed.

France’s Top 14, the richest rugby union league in the world, was also suspended.

In the video below is a discussion on sports impacted by restrictions becaues of coronavirus:

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