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Boris Johnson
PM Johnson, Prince Charles lead birthday tributes to Britain’s health service
5 July 2020, 3:10 PM

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles paid tribute to Britain’s state-run National Health Service on its 72nd birthday on Sunday, expressing pride in how it has coped with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both have recovered after contracting the coronavirus, with Johnson having said the NHS saved his life, “no question”, after he was admitted to intensive care with severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Johnson was expected to join in a “Clap for Carers” at 5 pm, a reprise of what had been a weekly tribute to doctors, nurses, and other frontline workers during the height of lockdown.

“This year, we’ve seen not only the greatest challenge the NHS has ever faced, but also an unprecedented outpouring of affection and support for that institution,” Johnson said in a video tribute.

The NHS was founded on July 5, 1948 by Aneurin Bevan, who was health minister in the Labour government at the time. He said the taxpayer-funded service should be free at the point of delivery, with treatment based on clinical needs and not a person’s ability to pay.

Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth’s son and heir to the throne, said this founding principle was a “profoundly moving statement of our values” which was never more relevant than now.

He paid tribute to the sacrifices made by the staff of the NHS to provide treatment to more than 100 000 patients who have been treated in hospital for COVID-19. He has said he was lucky to get away with only mild symptoms from his diagnosis, and was not admitted to hospital.

“To all who have given so much during this present danger, I just want to say that it is you who have been our shield. It is your hands that have held us up,” he said in a video message.

“Despite all that has been endured, there is deep cause for gratitude, and a true reason for pride.”

Colleges
PE TVET College students concerned about mid-year exams
5 July 2020, 2:42 PM

As many TVET Colleges re-open in the Eastern Cape on Monday, Port Elizabeth College students are concerned about mid-year examinations. Many students say the COVID- 19 pandemic has resulted in them being inadequately prepared. The students say while some universities and colleges provided their students with resources such as laptops and data, they did not receive anything. Those who rely on NSFAS for funding fear that failure will jeopardise their chances of securing funding next year.

“I am very worried because we haven’t really been able to study yet we are expected to write our exam. The last time we heard about interventions like laptop and data was on TV, nothing was ever done to meet us halfway. It makes me sad.”

“I don’t know how we are going to make it, some of us would try and come to class so we could catch up, but when we got here there was no one. No lecturer around. Some teachers tried in their own capacity to teach us by sending things on WhatsApp, but it’s been very hard to keep up cause some didn’t.”

The students are now very concerned about failing. They worry that with funding at stake if they fail, they could lose their finances. PE College Student Representative Council (SRC) President, Sipho Mthi, says this could jeopardise the future of many students as they rely on NSFAS to fund their studies, accommodation and meals.

“Most of these students rely on NSFAS for funding and we all know that in order to secure an NSFAS you need to pass your exams and they need progress. Now, most of these students might fail their exams because they were never prepared enough and if that happens they will lose their student loan, what will then become of them? I am very worried because this has potential to mess up their whole future,” says Mthi.

Luyanda Thisana, a student at PE College, says he is very disappointed with how the college has been handling this situation.

“The least we expected was to deliver what the Minister (Dr Blade Nzimande) has promised because the minister said during this pandemic there would be online tests, our college has our contact details but there was no online teaching. Since last month the schools opened the only active school term was less than a week.”

Attempts to get comment from the college were unsuccessful.

COVID-19
Stricter lockdown not the way to go: Medics association
4 July 2020, 8:11 PM

The South African Medical Association (Sama) says it does not believe in the re-introduction of stricter lockdown measures, as it could negatively impact the economy. The Gauteng government has been meeting to consider the possibility of enforcing stricter lockdown restrictions in the province amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Gauteng has seen a rapid rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and authorities have said it is likely to become the country’s next COVID-19 hotspot.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has also been calling for the country to revert to level 5 lockdown.

Latest COVID-19 cases in South Africa: 

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The province has recorded over 54 000 infections, of which 14 000 have recovered. At least 282 people have died from COVID-19 related illnesses in the province.

Sama Gauteng chairperson Dr Mark Human has called on people to take responsibility for their safety.

“Not only will you cripple the economy, but allow it to spread unfettered in the lockdown areas. I think the lockdown is absolutely not the way to go. I think what we need to do is for people to take responsibility. What we are seeing out in the streets is people sitting in coffees shops and people standing in groups on the side of the road talking to each other with no social distancing, no masks. People travelling in full taxi with windows closed and no masks. So it is that kind of thing where people need to start to take responsibility,” says Dr Human.

In the video below, Gauteng government considers imposing a harder lockdown:

 

Hippo
Wandering False Bay hippo finds new home
4 July 2020, 6:24 PM

A wandering hippo from the False Bay Nature Reserve in Cape Town has found a new home at Bergsig Game Farm in Mossel Bay.
In November 2019, staff spotted the animal in Rondevlei, most probably pushed out of the main herd. After a lengthy process she was captured and transported to greener pastures.

The animal was moved to a pan at the Strandfontein Waste Water Treatment works where an electric fence was erected to contain it.

“In mid-February we began construction of our hippo capture boma, made of wooden poles. It had a trip mechanism with an infra-red beam. It took all of a 111 days for the animal to make its way inside the boma where the beams were tripped and the doors closed, confining the animal inside the boma,” says Asieff Khan, who is the biodiversity area coordinator.

“Since she was in the boma it was about five minutes until she went up into the truck, they went from cape town to mossel bay. We opened the door for her and she was out as if she knew she belongs here,” says Lizelle Crous from the Bergsig Game farm.

Bergsig Game Farm applied for a hippo a few years ago and met all the necessary requirements. Their hope for a female hippo was realised, to complement the resident male.

“She seems to be very happy. She and Fatman the male is always together. You always find them together and hopefully we’ll have a baby in two years.” Says Kobus Crous who is the owner of the farm.

Bambi and Fatman enjoy swimming together and basking in the sun – blissfully unaware of what’s happening in the world today.

 

Lasheen Ibrahim
Egypt sets date for senate elections in August
4 July 2020, 4:46 PM

Egypt will hold inaugural elections for a new second parliamentary chamber on August 11-12, election commissioner Lasheen Ibrahim said on Saturday.

Amendments made to Egypt’s constitution last year provided for the creation of the Council of Senators, a 180-member secondary chamber that will be two-thirds elected by the public and the remainder appointed by the president.

“Holding elections during the pandemic that has swept the world necessitates that we take several precautionary measures to protect ourselves and society,” Ibrahim said during a televised press conference.

He said all polling stations will observe health guidelines, with all voters and polling staff required to wear masks, and social distancing measures will be enforced.

Egypt reported 1 485 new cases of coronavirus on Friday bringing the total number of infections to 72 711, including 3 201 deaths.
The poll results will be announced on August 19 in the official state gazette, Ibrahim said.

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