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Donald Trump
Michigan Attorney General slams Trump’s decision not to wear a mask
22 May 2020, 2:41 PM

The Attorney General of the State of Michigan in the United States has slammed President Donald Trump’s decision not to wear a mask while touring a manufacturing plant in her State on Thursday.

In an interview with the local news network, Dana Nessel called the President a petulant child after he ignored an Executive Order from the Governor of Michigan that requires those medically able to wear a face-covering in an enclosed space, to do so.

President Trump ignores requests from company executives and local officials to wear a mask while touring the facility that’s producing ventilators and masks during the coronavirus pandemic. Eliciting this response from Michigan top law enforcement officer Dana Nessel in an interview with CNN.

“The last thing we want to see is for this particular plant to have to close, to have to shutter its doors again because someone may have been infected by the President and that is a real possibility. It also sends a message that anybody can do whatever they want because look, the President did it so why can’t I? It’s a terrible message to send, it’s incredibly disappointing and it’s very disrespectful to the people of our state,” says Nessel.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance says the use of a face-covering helps slow the spread of COVID-19, particularly in enclosed spaces. The President asked to explain himself.

“I had one on before. I wore one in this back area, but I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it. But, no, where I did have it in the back area I did put a mask on,” explains Trump.

Trump went on to answer a question that he also had goggles on.

“I did. I had goggles, goggles and a mask right back there”

He later also tweeted a response to the AG of Michigan, calling her a do nothing, adding that she should not be taking her anger and stupidity out on Ford, warning they might be upset and leave her state, taking jobs with them.

The President is also inclined to get back to his election rallies, which sees thousands flock to hear him speak despite CDC guidelines indicating that large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19.

“I don’t want to have a stadium where you’re supposed to have a person and then seven empty seats and then another person. So we might do some outdoor big ones, and we may also just wait till the stadiums can open up. I think it’s going to be soon. We’ll go to a place like Florida. We’ll go to a place like, maybe, Georgia, or some other place where they’re going to be opening up – whoever opens up first. The demand has been incredible to get going with the rallies. I just hear the music, in the background, I’m saying, we’ve had rallies like nobody’s ever had and we would love to get back to that. I think it’s going to be sooner rather than later,” says Trump.

The President is regularly tested at the White House but concerns were raised earlier this month when his Vice President’s press secretary tested positive the day after she had tested negative for COVID-19 sending herself and several administration officials who’d come into contact with her, into self-quarantine.

Mxolisi Kaunda
KZN municipalities experiencing a sharp decline in revenue collection
18 May 2020, 5:54 PM

KwaZulu-Natal municipalities are experiencing a sharp decline in revenue due to the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown. The lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus has resulted in job losses, salary cuts for many workers, while businesses were hard hit when they were forced to close.

Many ratepayers, including households and businesses, are unable to pay their municipal rates and utility bills due to the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown. Municipalities say a decline in revenue collection will compromise service delivery.

EThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda says the municipality has recorded a decline in revenue collection since the start of the lockdown.

“Many people have received so much of strain during the lockdown and the COVID-19 and therefore they have been unable to pay for their services. To those, we have also made arrangement for own incentive that we have offered which will enable them to at least not to get interest on their bills and make arrangements to pay but that will be based on individual and merit of each and every case that there is evidence that you have lost income,” says Kaunda.

Cooperative Governance MEC, Sipho Hlomuka, paints a grim picture of the state of municipal finances since the outbreak of the coronavirus. He has called on ratepayers who are facing financial difficulties to make payment arrangements with their municipalities.

“We really want to appeal to the people of KZN that can they try to pay for the services that they are getting from municipalities, because the municipalities will collapse. Those who are working and those who have challenges must consult their municipalities and make arrangements for how are they going to pay. Those who have challenges because of the COVID 19 they must make arrangements because local government must continue to provide services to our people,” says Hlomuka.

Meanwhile, Hlomuka says rural municipalities have been the hardest hit by non-payment of rates.

Zamani Saul
Northern Cape Premier rejects claims of inaccurate COVID-19 stats
18 May 2020, 4:55 PM

Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul has dismissed assertions that the province’s COVID-19 statistics are not a true reflection of the amount of infections the province has.  The Northern Cape currently has the lowest number of positive cases, currently standing at 37. There have been no COVID-19 related deaths reported.

Residents are concerned that the provincial Health department is focusing more on screening instead of testing, which could be disastrous as those who have the virus but are asymptomatic, will not easily be detected during the screening process. Opposition parties in the province also have misgivings about the low number of tests that have been conducted.

But Saul says there is nothing to worry about. He says the province has screened over 700 000 people with about 2 000 people tested.

“If our figures for people who have tested positive was a distortion, then there would be a large number of people who are dead. The death toll remains very stable in South Africa, which is fair in relation to the number of people that have tested positive. So there is no misreading, there is no miscalculation that is taking place,” says Saul.

He was speaking at the welcoming of 11 specialist Cuban doctors, who have been deployed to the province.

In the video below,  a report on the deployment of Cuban specialist in Kimberly:

The Premier says the 11 specialists will strengthen the province’s ability to deal with any surge in COVID-19 infections.

“Over the years our healthcare, particularly public healthcare in the province has been driven on the backbone of Cuban doctors. It’s not our first experience having them here and they have done excellent work over the past few years. So the highly specialised team will be expected to stay here in Kimberley to strengthen the capacity of our tertiary hospital and others will be deployed to the different districts,” says Saul.

The doctors include family physicians, epidemiologists and biologists. They are expected to be taken through a week-long orientation before they are deployed throughout the Northern Cape.

Infographic of SA COVID-19 stats:

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Cyril Ramaphosa
President Ramaphosa calls for global solidarity in fighting COVID-19
18 May 2020, 4:25 PM

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for global solidarity to fight the coronavirus crisis.  Ramaphosa was addressing the 73rd Session of the World Health Assembly, which is the key decision-making body of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The virtual session was being attended by representatives of the United Nation’s 194 member states.

Ramaphosa says the coronavirus outbreak is a clear call for the urgent implementation of universal healthcare.

“We must ensure that there is equitable access to medical equipment, technologies. In this final decade towards the attainment of the sustainable development goals, we must press ahead with our goal of making universal health care a reality for all the people of the world. The virus has demonstrated the essential value of universal health coverage and this is where we need full solidarity,” says Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa has affirmed Africa’s full support for the World Health Organisation (WHO), which he said had been key in guiding the international response to the coronavirus pandemic. Ramaphosa is the chairperson of the African Union (AU) for 2020.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says millions of people have put themselves in harm’s way in fighting this pandemic.

“From nurses, doctors and midwives to technicians and administrators, millions of healthcare workers are putting themselves in harm’s way every day to protect us. We owe them our deepest appreciation and solidarity.”

Tom Thabane
Lesotho’s Finance Minister to replace embattled Thabane
18 May 2020, 4:22 PM

Lesotho’s Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro is now that country’s incoming Prime Minister.

The Council of State, the body that advises His Majesty the King, approved the proposed changes to parliament.

He will replace embattled Prime Minister Tom Thabane, who is expected to hand in his resignation on Monday. Thabane had been facing pressure to step down from his position for several months after falling out of his party’s favour. He’s been accused of numerous political tricks to retain power. This included an attempt to dissolve parliament.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Tom Thabane announced that he would step down by the end of July. This was as continuous pressure to resign from his party, the All Basotho Convention (ABC) mounted. Being fingered in the 2017 assassination of his wife along with the current First Lady did not help his case.

The final push came when ABC’s National Executive Committee withdrew the party from the ruling coalition forcing it to collapse. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s name has been presented to the Council of State, the body that advises His Majesty the King to replace Thabane as Prime Minister.

Thabane ready to step down

In January, Tom Thabane had agreed to step down and retire from his position. This came after his party, the ABC and the opposition coalition applied pressure on him to vacate office.

Thabane and his wife, Maesaiah, are linked to the murder of Thabane’s first wife.

President Cyril Ramaphosa sent former minister, Jeff Radebe, as the special envoy to Maseru to facilitate transitional talks.

Radebe said the coalition government would announce steps towards Thabane’s retirement.

“We are very optimistic as a special envoy, myself and Deputy Minister, Zizi Kodwa, about what we heard as the coalition partners and they were telling us about how the next few days would be unfolding.”

 

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