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Counsellors urges couples to take advantage of lockdown in building relationships
19 April 2020, 3:32 PM

Counsellors say couples should take advantage of the lockdown and work on their relationships. This comes as a spike in the divorce rate in China was reported post lockdown.

A countrywide lockdown is observed to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. This has forced many couples to spend more time together.

Neo Moqhekoana says the lockdown will help rekindle his relationship with his partner Pulane Mokoroane.

“I’m very excited and happy with the situation at the present moment. So far, it’s working well for us as a family and also I’m assisting with a course that she’s doing because I did the course previously. Where she lacks I’m there to help and the other thing is that it would spark something out of me; the cooking skills that I have and also the other things that maybe I feel will be of benefit to the family,” explains Mokoroane.

Pulane Mokoroane says she is learning a lot about her partner.

“So far, I’m happy because I’ve learnt so many things from my partner, those that I didn’t know before, but now I know everything and on the other side, I’m learning more from my assignment and from my son’s school work as well,” says Mokoroane.

Reverend Motantsi Makhele is also of the view that couples should make use of this time to work on their relationships.

“We normally advise the couples during the time like this. It’s a time we must use productively by making sure that if ever there are conflicts within the marriage itself, you don’t ventilate by being physical or just by walking out. But you utilize the opportunity to sit down with your partner and resolve the problems which are ever there. Wenow that tendency has been whenever there are problems we say, ‘I just want to cool down and go outside.’ Even if you go outside when you come back the problem is still there. It’s existing. So, you rather sit down and utilize this time positively so, by sitting down with your partner and resolving the problem,” says Makhele.

Marriage counsellor Mothijoa Lebese says communication is vital in any marriage.

“Let try and fix whatever that need to be fixed now. Let’s try and communicate … open doors of communication. Let’s communicate as husband and wife. Maybe we have been distant because our work or occupations, whatever it is that kept us separate in the past. Let’s try and communicate as much as possible and let’s pray about our marriage,” says Lebese.

Experts believe mutual understanding and respect between two people are key for a successful marriage.

Zweli Mkhize
SA’s number of COVID-19 cases rises to 3034 with 52 deaths
18 April 2020, 9:47 PM

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 3034. This is 251 up from the previous figure. The number of fatalities  stands at 52. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize made the announcement at a media briefing on Saturday.

“As of today, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases has gone up to 3034 and this comes out of a total of 108 021 tests that have been conducted to date. Gauteng still has the largest number of people who are positive. The number is 1101. Western Cape is next at 836,” says Mkhize.

In this video below, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize addresses the media:

The Western Cape government says it does not rule out the possibility of cremating people who have died due to the coronavirus, should the need arises.

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo says it’s because of the unique nature of COVID-19.

She says cremation are widely used in overseas countries, and added that the contagious nature of the coronavirus, can change funeral traditions.

“Of course! Although in South Africa, we don’t have as much compared at this stage, internationally, where people are dying in numbers like in the US, but there might be a time. As I said, we don’t know how the disease will evolve. There might be a time where either cremation or mass burial which we have seen in New York City, but we are not there at that level yet.”

Possible significant spike in cases post lockdown…

Epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist Professor Salim Abdool Karim, who also chairs government’s advisory committee on COVID-19 says his team is using technology built for the 2010 soccer world cup to fight COVID-19. He says the technology created by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research, uses a data collection method to track community-based COVID-19 cases.

Speaking on SABC News earlier Karim predicted that COVID-19 cases will spike significantly post the lockdown:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says while some countries in Europe and North America are now starting to plan how to ease social restrictions, there’s been a spike in COVID-19 cases in Africa. A trend the organisation describes as worrying.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the remarks during a media briefing on Friday.

He says in the past week there has been a 51% increase in the number of reported cases Africa and a 60% rise in the number of reported deaths.

“With the current challenge of obtaining testing kits, it’s likely that the real numbers are higher than reported. With WHO support, most countries in Africa now have the capacity to test for COVID-19, but there are still significant gaps in access to testing kits. We’re working with partners to fill those gaps and help countries find the virus,” Dr Ghebreyesus says.

According to the WHO chief, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) announced on Friday that more than 1 million tests for COVID-19 will be rolled out across the continent starting next week.

A move he has welcomed, saying strengthening and supporting African institutions like the Africa CDC will help now and for the future.

“In addition to tests, we’re also working hard to accelerate the development, production & equitable distribution of a #COVID19 vaccine,” Dr Ghebreyesus says.

Egypt confirmed 188 new cases ofthe novel coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the total to 3,032,according to a health ministry statement.

Nineteen new deaths caused by the illness were reported,raising the total to 224.

Egypt has imposed a night curfew since March 25 and willhalt public transport on Monday during a public holiday in aneffort to contain the spread of the virus. -additional reporting by Reuters

Below is a Live Tracking of the cases, death toll and other information, updated daily:

Department of Public Enterprise to investigate reports about SAA retrenchments
18 April 2020, 9:30 PM

The Department of Public Enterprises says they have noted media reports suggesting that South African Airways (SAA) is about to make full-scale retrenchments, and wish to put on record that no such agreements have been concluded. The department says in a statement the public will be informed of any significant developments regarding SAA.

The ministry says under the stewardship of Business Rescue Practitioners, who have in the past four months been engaged in attempts to rescue and restructure the airline, creditors, unions and the shareholder were consulted.

The department further states that government is committed to a dynamic and viable aviation sector that will serve as a contributor to a number of sectors of the economy, including tourism, and also serve other commercial needs of the country.

In this video below, Economist say State-Owned Enterprises that are not profitable should shut down:

Earlier, Business Rescue Practitioners of (SAA) tabled a proposal to terminate the employment of SAA workers and offered severance packages at the end of April to the entire staff.

According to the proposal, employees will be given severance packages plus a further severance pay calculated at one week’s remuneration per completed year of service.

The leaked document contains details of negotiations between SAA business practitioners and unions.

If the proposal goes ahead, some employees will also be entitled to a pro-rated 13th cheque. The severance package will include all pension benefits. Employment of all employees would be terminated by mutual agreement due to the company’s operational requirements on 30 April, 2020. The termination will include all employment contractual obligations, except for those who have to finalise company obligations like intellectual property and trade.

Unions and SAA business practitioners say they will not comment as the proposal is yet to be agreed on and finalised.



Health worker
Medical workers continue to mount concerted efforts to save critical COVID-19 patients in Wuhan
18 April 2020, 9:12 PM

Medical workers in central China’s Wuhan City are continuing to mount concerted efforts to save the remaining COVID-19 patients in the city, with only 27 severe cases remaining hospitalized as authority data showed on Friday.

Thanks to the country’s devoted medical workers, the cure rate of critically ill COVID-19 patients in China has seen a significant rise from 14% to over 89%.

The proportion of patients cured from the disease has reached 94% in Wuhan, the National Health Commission (NHC) said earlier this month.

At present, 20 experts sent by the NHC are also working in the three designated hospitals to treat the critically ill patients. The experts will make further treatment plans specifically for those with underlying diseases and multi-organ failure.

“Those who have not yet been discharged from hospital are either at an advanced age or have some underlying diseases which are not easy to treat. As experts we need to work together to save as many critically ill patients as possible,” said Tong Zhaohui, a member of the national team and professor with the department of respiration and critical care medicine of the Beijing Chaoyang Hospital.

At the Sino-French New City Branch of Wuhan’s Tongji Hospital, 70-year-old Qin has recently come off life support. He was once in critical condition over 40 days ago due to respiratory failure.

“I hope we can have our own spring – which is the ability to stand up and walk. The most important thing is still to say ‘thank you’ to our government and all the medical workers,” said Qin.

Underlying diseases are a high-risk factor for those infected with the virus, especially for elderly people.

Through medical staff’s constant adjustment of treatment plans, the cure rate of COVID-19 patients over 80 years old in Wuhan is now close to 70 percent, with seven centenarians cured and discharged from hospital.

“At this last stage, we will do everything we can to save these (critically ill) patients and send them home in good health,” said Zhu Wentao, vice president of the Sino-French Xincheng Branch of Wuhan Tongji Hospital.

China records 27 new COVID-19 cases:

China’s National Health Commission reported 27 new confirmed coronavirus cases on April 17, up from 26 the day earlier, according to data published on Saturday.

Of that figure, 17 cases were imported via individuals arriving overseas, up from 15 the previous day.

Newly discovered asymptomatic cases were at 54, down from 66 a day earlier.

Three of the new cases were imported, according to the health ministry.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country reached 82 719, an increase of 300 from the number reported the day prior.

The sharp uptake follows revisions in case reporting that the NHC announced on Friday.

The ministry placed the total death toll from the virus at 4 632 as of April 17, a number it originally reported on Friday when it publicly announced the revised figures.

The new death toll marks an increase of over 1 000.

Below is a Live Tracking of the cases, death toll and other information, updated daily:

Nomafrench Mbombo
Western Cape government weighing option of cremating patients who die of COVID-19
18 April 2020, 7:01 PM

The Western Cape government says it does not rule out the possibility of cremating people who have died due to the coronavirus, should the need arises.

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo says its because of the unique nature of COVID-19.

She says cremation are widely used in overseas countries, and added that the contagious nature of the coronavirus, can change funeral traditions.

“Of course although in South Africa we don’t have as much compared at this stage international where people are dying in numbers like in the US but they might be a time, as I said we don’t know how the disease will evolve. There might be a time where either cremation or mass burial which we have seen in New York City, but we are not there at that level yet,” explains Mbombo.

SA’s COVID-19 cases:

The COVID-19 related death toll in South Africa is now at 50. This is an increase of two from Thursday’s figure of 48.

The Health Ministry also announced that the number of confirmed cases now stands at 2 783.

Breakdown of latest COVID-19 stats below:



The deaths were recorded in the Western Cape. The number of positive cases are also on a sharp rise with 178 new cases. Gauteng remains the epicenter of the pandemic with 1018 cases followed by the Western Cape with 717 and KwaZulu-Natal with 591.

On Thursday, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo recorded their first deaths. The Northern Cape is the least affected province with only 16 cases. In a statement, the Health Ministry says to date, over 100 000 tests have been conducted.

Simplified breakdown of COVID-19 in SA below:





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