COVID-19 quick insights from 7 April

South Africa's coronavirus deaths increase to 13, infections to 1,749; joint custody amended for lockdown; Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams in trouble for breaching lockdown regulations; tourism sector relief and fake news prosecutions.

Picture: 123rf

CAPE TOWN - South Africa's coronavirus deaths increase to 13, infections to 1,749; joint custody amended for lockdown; Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams in trouble for breaching lockdown regulations; tourism sector relief and fake news prosecutions.

DAY 12 OF LOCKDOWN

BY THE NUMBERS

• A 13th person has died as a result of COVID19 – a Durban man, who had stage 4 prostate cancer.

• Total confirmed SA infections recorded since the virus hit our shores now stands at 1,749.

• Globally more than 1.365 million people have been confirmed to have COVID-19 since the virus emerged last year. More than 76,000 have died as a result.

WATCH: COVID 19 Situation Desk - 7 April 2020 PM

BIG NEWS FOR PARENTS WITH JOINT CUSTODY!

• Social Services Minister Lindiwe Zulu gazetted an amendment to the lockdown regulations, that allow children to travel between their parents' homes under some tightly controlled circumstances.

• First of all, you have to have a court order or a parental responsibilities and rights agreement or parenting plan, registered with the family advocate.

• The child can only move to the other parent’s house if there is no person who is known to have come into contact with, or is suspected to have come into contact with, a person with COVID-19 or someone suspected to have it.

• In order to transport the child between homes, you must have the court order, the official agreement or a certified copy of either with you.

• So you can’t go to visit your child if you don’t have a court order or official agreement setting out the visitation rights.

OOOOOOOO STELLA... YOU’RE IN TROUBLE!

• Communication Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams was snapped on social media, enjoying lunch with a former ANC MP and Higher Education Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana and his family... during the lockdown.

• Social media went nuts with condemnation all round, and opposition parties piled in.

• When the president was asked about this transgression he said that he had seen the picture... and he was going to have “a conversation” with his minister.

• Mduduzi Manana deleted the picture off his social media account, and issued a statement saying Ndabeni-Abrahams was at his house to pick up some PPEs for students who needed them, she arrived at lunchtime and he invited her to join his family for their meal.

FAKE NEWS

• The first real, serious prosecution of someone for making and disseminating fake news began on Tuesday.

• 55-year-old Capetonian, Stephen Birch was arrested for posting a video on social media, claiming the swab sticks used in mass COVID-19 testing, rolling out across the country this week, are actually infected with the virus.

• He appeared in court on Tuesday, and was released on a warning – he will return to court on 14 July.

TOURISM FUND

• Government has opened the application process for tourism industry relief funding.

• It targets SMME’s in the sector along three broad categories

  • Accommodation establishments,

  • Hospitality related services – eg conference centres, catering, attractions etc,

  • Travel and related services – eg tour operators, travel agents, tour guides, coach operators etc.

• Grant funding is capped at R50,000 and can be used to subsidise expenses towards fixed costs, operational costs and supplies.

• To qualify, an entity must

  • have proof of CIPC registration,

  • have a valid tax clearance certificate,

  • pay employees at or above the minimum wage,

  • prove that employees are registered for UIF,

  • have been trading for at least one financial year,

  • prove they need the relief as a result of the impact of COVID19.

• Grants will be awarded in keeping with BBBEE codes of good practice.

• You can’t apply if you’re a fast food or takeaway restaurant, nightclub, bar, gaming and gambling venue, or if you are a franchised restaurant, or attached to a tourism facility.

BOOZE AND SMOKES – THE EFFECTS OF BANNING THEM

• Earlier this week, Police Minister Bheki Cele revealed a major drop in contact crime in the first week of lockdown – he ascribed it to a relative lack of alcohol in the system.

• Groote Schuur Hospital – the Western Cape’s biggest – has recorded a 66% decrease in trauma cases weekend to weekend – something the trauma unit head ascribes mainly to the removal of alcohol from the
equation.

• Groote Schuur trauma centre usually sees around 1,100 patients a month – 60% of those are usually there as a result of inter-personal violence and 30% as a result of car crashes. This past weekend, they saw just 37 cases, whereas on a regular weekend, they’d be dealing with anything up to 150 cases.

• But the prohibition on the purchase and sale of alcohol and cigarettes is costing the national fiscus dearly (at a time when we can ill afford it).

• So-called sin taxes and duties on such goods rake in about R135m every single day (+/-R100m for booze; and +/-35m for cigarettes).

GLOBALLY

• Downing Street said Boris Johnson does not have pneumonia – even though he was admitted to ICU on Monday. His condition had deteriorated and he was admitted and put on oxygen.

• Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency to fight coronavirus infections in major population centres and rolled out a nearly $1 trillion stimulus package to soften the economic blow.

• New York suffered its deadliest day in the pandemic, with 731 fatalities in the last 24 hours.

• New York state overtook Italy in terms of overall number of cases.

• The US state has 138,836 reported cases compared with Italy at 135,586. Spain has the most cases at 140,510.

• The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday reported 374,329 cases of coronavirus, an increase of 43,438 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 3,154 to 12,064.