The Eyewitness News Breakfast Brief

Eyewitness News previews a selection of the news that you will find on the website today.

Picture: Stephanie Albert/Pixabay

On this morning, South Africa has recorded another 2,273 new COVID-19 cases a day after the president announced the country will remain on alert level one of the lockdown. Twenty-five more COVID-19 related deaths were also captured in the latest update from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. The country's death toll since the start of the pandemic now stands at 89,822. Over 25 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country and government wants millions more people to get vaccinated after the detection of the new Omicron variant, which is already circulating in the country. Many other nations have banned travellers from South Africa and its neighbouring countries in response.

With bed space at hospitals likely to be under pressure as the Omicron variant spreads, the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital CEO says she's concerned about capacity. Scientists expect 10,000 daily cases from the end of the week due to the high transmissibility of the new variant.

Cape Town's tourism sector's looking to local travellers to keep it afloat this festive season. A new coronavirus strain has spooked governments worldwide, prompting travel bans. The tourism industry's been one of the biggest casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The alcohol industry is pleading with government that any further response to the increasing COVID-19 infections should avoid sudden restrictions that could cause financial shock to businesses. The South African Liquor Brandowners Association says the economic recovery of the alcohol, tourism and hospitality sectors are paramount to protect employment and grow the economy to pre-COVID-19 levels.

With the price of petrol now breaking through R20 a litre from midnight, there are concerns that this will have dire consequences for consumers. Petrol is going up by 81 cents a litre, while diesel goes up by 72.5 cents and 74.5 cents for the different grades. Illuminating paraffin goes up by 42.2 cents. The Automobile Association has, once again, called on government to change the mechanism used to calculate fuel prices.

The leader of a shack dwellers movement says the July unrest was planned at a higher political level. S'bu Zikode has testified as a leader representing a large number of poverty-stricken communities. The SAHRC - which looking into the unrest - wanted to get his perspective about what happened.

Police are still trying to find who is responsible for killing seven people in Ekurhuleni. The bodies were found in different parts of an informal settlement in Germiston. It's believed they were illegal miners.

Rescue teams are still looking for five miners who went missing at the Impala Platinum mine in the North West following a mudslide. Officials say a mud rush on Sunday trapped the miners at the bottom of a shaft. Two miners managed to escape but five more are missing. Search and rescue operations are continuing and officials hope to get to the impacted area soon. An update is expected this morning.

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre has reminded consumers to be vigilant for scammers this festive season. The group records a marked spike in the number of cybercrimes, like phishing, card fraud and online holidays scams during this time. This also comes following yesterday's Cyber-Monday sales campaign, where criminals resort to more creative ways to con would-be bargain hunters. The group has since collated festive-season scamming awareness tips on their website. SABRIC's Louise van der Merwe says email scams remain one of the most common modus operandi.

In international news, Ghislaine Maxwell set young girls up to be abused by "predator" Jeffrey Epstein, prosecutors said Monday, as the sex trafficking trial of the British jet-set socialite and heiress began in New York.

Just as it was recovering from the body blow of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global economy has taken yet another hit from the Omicron variant of the virus, which has led to a raft of new travel restrictions.

Lionel Messi admitted winning the Copa America with Argentina might have been the determining factor in him claiming the men's Ballon d'Or prize for the seventh time after a turbulent year, as Spain's Alexia Putellas took the women's award.


Prof Karim on Omicron variant: Closing borders has almost no benefit - During a health media briefing, epidemiologist Professor Salim Abdool Karim outlined what we know and what we don't know about the Omicron variant.