Connect with us


COVID-19: South Africa Shuts Land Borders



South Africa has closed its land borders to most travellers until 15 February in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the closure in a nationwide broadcast on Monday night.

The president said the pandemic in South Africa is currently at its most devastating, with infection numbers far exceeding the peak experienced in the first wave.

Ramaphosa said the strain placed on hospitals by rising admissions of Covid-19 patients was cause for concern.

More than 148,000 Covid-19 patients had been admitted to hospital since the outbreak of the disease in SA. There are now 15,000 coronavirus patients in hospitals, a third of them on oxygen ventilators.

“Therefore, there is an intensive focus in our health facilities on increasing oxygen supply and activating field hospital beds. In several parts of the country, hospital admissions are also much higher now than during the first wave. Additional posts that were vacant are being filled, and personal protective equipment stocks are being jointly monitored with the Office of Health Standards Compliance,” he said.

The province of KwaZulu Natal has seen the most cases per head of population in recent weeks, but Mr Ramaphosa said infection numbers in Gauteng are growing exponentially and are expected to increase further as travellers return from their holidays.

Many restrictions put in place at the end of December will be extended.

The ban on alcohol sales remains in force, beaches and parks in hotpots remain shut, and social gatherings are still banned.

President Ramaphosa warned that funerals continue to be super-spreader events.

“Providing a fitting send-off for a departed loved one is deeply ingrained in all of us. There are certain rituals that we perform in line with our respective cultures and traditions; not just at the funeral itself but in the days leading up to the burial. But these are all things we simply cannot do at this time,” said Ramaphosa.

“We are in the grip of a deadly pandemic and all these activities that would normally take place are just increasing our exposure to risk — for ourselves, for the bereaved family and for our own families at home.

“There will be a time when we can go to the home of the deceased to pay our respects, and to sympathise properly with our neighbours, friends and relatives. Funerals have become a death trap for many of our people. For now, it is best and safer to stay at home.”

President Ramaphosa said the vaccine programme that South Africa plans to undertake will be the most ambitious logistical project in the country’s history.

He said that 20 million doses of the vaccine had already been secured, for delivery in the coming months, and that negotiations are ongoing with a number of different manufacturers.

Join our newsletter

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply


Africa’s COVID-19 Death Rate Now Higher Than Global Average – CDC



The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) says the coronavirus (COVID-19) death rate on the continent is now greater than the global average.

John N. Nkengasong – a Cameroonian virologist and Africa CDC’s Director – disclosed this in the health agency’s weekly video briefing shared on Facebook on Thursday.

Describing the situation as “worrying and concerning”, Nkengasong told reporters that the continent’s death rate stands at 2.5% against a global average of 2.2%.

He added that the number of nations recording higher rates is growing.

Earlier during the pandemic, Africa recorded lower death rates than the global average, Nkengasong said.

But in the “second wave” 21 African nations had a death rate above 3%. They are Sudan, Egypt, Liberia, Mali, Chad, Niger, The Gambia, Tunisia, Eswatini, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.

Over the past week, cases decreased by nearly 7% compared to the previous week while deaths increased 10%, according to Africa CDC data.

The continent reported 207,000 new cases in the past week, with South Africa alone reporting 100,000 of those new cases, Nkengasong said.

The continent has so far confirmed 3.3 million Covid-19 cases with 2.7 million recoveries and 81,000 deaths.

Join our newsletter

Continue Reading


South African Minister Dies of COVID-19



President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the death of Jackson Mthembu, the Minister in the Presidency of South Africa’s government. Mthembu died of coronavirus (COVID-19), aged 62.

Mthembu, who since 2019 had been serving as the minister in the presidency, was a parliamentarian and long-serving member of the governing African National Congress (ANC).

He had worked his way up the ranks over many years and has been described as a man of integrity.

In his tribute, President Ramaphosa said the 62-year-old was “an exemplary leader” and “life-long champion of democracy”.

He said the deceased “was a much-loved and greatly respected colleague and comrade, whose passing leaves our nation at a loss.”

“I extend my deepest sympathies to the minister’s family, to his colleagues, comrades and many friends.”

Ten days ago, Mthembu shared the news in a tweet that he had abdominal pain and had tested positive for coronavirus. His last tweet on that same day read: “I want to thank the many South Africans who have wished me a speedy recovery. As a people, we must overcome Covid-19.”

Mthembu was the fourth cabinet member to be confirmed infected with the coronavirus.

Join our newsletter

Continue Reading


COVID-19: Zimbabwe’s First Lady Calls for Prayers, Fasting



The Zimbabwean First Lady has invited women in the country to join her for three days of prayer and fasting over the Covid-19 pandemic.

Auxillia Mnangagwa stated she would fast and pray from Thursday till Saturday for Zimbabwe to be “spared from further calamity”.

She urged women to ensure their families observe Covid-19 safety guidelines to prevent the virus from spreading further.

“We need a plan at the household level for regularly using any means at our disposal to clean and sanitise our homes, to ensure that everyone in the home knows the importance of having a mask and masking up properly, more importantly to organise sharp, safe errands for our requirements to get going whilst enforcing the family to stay at home,” she said in a statement.

Zimbabwe has lost 879 people to coronavirus, including top government officials with the most recent death being that of Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo.

On Wednesday, January 20, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Sibusiso Moyo, died after contracting COVID-19.

Moyo, a former army general who announced the military coup that led to the removal of the late long-serving leader Robert Mugabe in November 2017.

Moyo died at a local hospital early on Wednesday,.

Moyo was one of several generals who, after helping plot the coup, were rewarded with senior positions in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s cabinet and the ruling ZANU-PF party.

Another cabinet minister, retired general and agriculture minister Perrance Shiri, died of the virus in July 2020.

Zimbabwe has suffered a surge in COVID-19 infections, with more than half of the 28,675 total cases and 825 deaths being recorded since New Year’s Day.

Join our newsletter

Continue Reading