AS South Africans get ready to celebrate the New Year period amid stricter lockdown regulations, the government has put out newly-gazetted and adjusted Alert Level 3 disaster regulations.
The new strict lockdown regulations state that all person will be confined to his or her place of residence from the hours 9 pm until 6 am daily, and failure to abide by the curfew will attract a fine or a period of imprisonment not exceeding six months.
Theatres, Cinemas, museums, casinos, galleries and archives, fitness centres and gyms, restaurants, venues hosting auctions, and venues hosting professional sport must close at 8pm.
President Cyril Ramaphosa in his address on Monday lamented unprecedented rate at which the number of infected persons has been rising, with more than 50,000 new cases reported since Christmas Eve.
Majority of new cases are emerging in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, the president said.
“Several of the level 3 regulations are being strengthened to further limit the potential for transmission, while doing everything possible to keep the economy open. We have adjusted the restrictions that will apply at level 3 based on the lessons we have learned through our response to date,” Ramaphosa said.
“There are four main reasons for this step: Firstly, we want to minimise the risk of super-spreading events even further. As the number of people with active infections rises, there is a greater risk of an infected person without symptoms being present in a gathering and spreading the virus.
“Secondly, we want to decrease unsafe interactions between people.
“Thirdly, we want to increase the implementation of our five key prevention measures – social distancing, masks, hand hygiene, symptom-checking and testing.
“Fourthly, we want to decrease the burden on health care services so that resources can be directed to meet the needs of Covid-19 and other patients,” Ramaphosa said.
Further implications of the on-the-ground adjusted Alert Level Three regulations relate to:
Eviction and demolition of places of residence: A person may not be evicted from his or her land or home or have his or her place of residence demolished for the duration of the national state of disaster unless a competent court has granted an order authorising the eviction or demolition; and
The Rental Housing Tribunals must determine fair procedures for the urgent hearing of disputes or may grant an urgent ex parte spoliation order including to restore the occupation of a dwelling or access to services.
During the national state of disaster, the imposition of any penalty for the late payment of rental where the default is caused by the disaster, whether or not the penalty takes the form of an administrative charge or any other form other than interest, is also presumed to be unfair.
– Initiation practices are prohibited nationally and no new initiations will be permitted, except for those who already are in an initiation school in the Eastern Cape;
– All visits to remand detention facilities, correctional centres, military detention facilities, police holding cells, health establishments and facilities except to receive treatment or medication, and older persons’ residential facilities, are prohibited except to the extent and in the manner directed by the relevant Cabinet member.
– The 18 land borders which were partially operational, will be fully operational and the 34 land borders which were closed, will stay closed except for the Kosibay Port of Entry which is scheduled to reopen on January 1, 2021.
Zimbabwe Tightens Restrictions as 2 More Ministers Die of COVID-19
Two ministers serving in the Zimbabwean government died of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) within a matter of days, prompting the country to announce on Saturday plans to further tighten lockdown measures.
Late on Friday, the government announced that Transport Minister Joel Matiza had died after falling ill with COVID-19, less than two days after the country lost Foreign minister Sibusiso Moyo to the same disease.
Four government ministers have succumbed to the coronavirus in Zimbabwe so far.
According to unconfirmed media reports, several other cabinet ministers are fighting for their lives in a private hospital.
“We are in a dark cloud that we have to clear very soon,” deputy health minister John Mangwiro told dpa.
Mangwiro revealed plans to intensify the current lockdown, which has been in place since early January and includes a strict nightly curfew.
Restaurants, bars and gyms have also been forced to close.
“We have seen people not adhering to the lockdown regulations announced early this month,” he added.
Zimbabwe has registered 30,523 cases of infection since the start of the pandemic, including 962 deaths.
The numbers may seem relatively low compared to other countries.
However, the outbreak is putting the nation’s health system under considerable pressure.
Zimbabweans have taken to the social media to blame President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his predecessor, the late Robert Mugabe, for the country’s dilapidated health infrastructure.
Health workers recently went on strike over a lack of protective equipment and poor salaries.
Nigeria Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Hit 118,138
Nigeria’s health agency on Friday night announced 1,483 new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total number of infections in the country to 118,138.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) also confirmed that the West African nation recorded additional five coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll in the country to 1,490.
The NCDC disclosed this on its official website on Friday.
Nigeria has so far tested 1,225,179 people since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was recorded on Feb. 27, 2020 in the country.
The NCDC said that the new infections were from 22 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
It stated that Kaduna state reported the highest number of infections with 545 new cases, raising the tally of cases in the state to 7,176 and 56 deaths
The agency said that the FCT came second with 235 new infections, for a tally of 15,506 and 119 deaths.
In other states, it reported Plateau with 127, Nasarawa-80, Oyo-72, Delta-65, Rivers-64, Kano-46, Ogun-46, Bayelsa-30, Gombe-30, Abia-28, Osun-27, Edo-25, Ondo-14, Sokoto-12, Zamfara-10, Bauchi-eight Imo-five Jigawa-four, Ekiti-four, Borno-four and Niger-two.
The NCDC said: “On Thursday, we erroneously reported one new case, instead of three new cases for Zamfara State.”
“Friday’s report does not include data from Lagos State,” it said.
The public health institute noted that 504 people have been successfully treated and discharged from various isolation centers in the country.
The NCDC said that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) activated at Level 3, is coordinating response activities nationwide.
Zimbabwe Warns Citizens Against Patronising Rogue COVID-19 Doctor
The Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ), on Friday, warned against the illegal practice of one Jacqueline Carey Stone, who was allegedly treating COVID-19 patients using unregistered medicines.
In a statement, the MDPCZ said the public should be wary of Stone’s practice, as she does not have a valid license to practice as a medical professional in the country.
“The premises at which she is treating COVID-19 patients have not been registered for purposes of medical practice and thus posing a health risk to the public.
“She is putting the lives of the public at risk by treating the patients with unregistered medicines, including medicines for animal use,’’ the MDPCZ said.
It added that Stone is conducting clinical trials without the full approval of the Research Council of Zimbabwe, and is also working with unregistered persons to dispense and counsel patients.
“MDPCZ will not allow any registered medical practitioner to offer unsafe treatment to the public of Zimbabwe,’’ said the body, that regulates the practice of medicine and dentistry in the country.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a resurging COVID-19 pandemic.
The death toll has risen phenomenally since the beginning of this month and now stands at 917 out of the 30,047 COVID-19 infections recorded in the country since last March.
Zimbabwe Tightens Restrictions as 2 More Ministers Die of COVID-19
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