Maverick Citizen

CORONAVIRUS DAILY DIGEST #45

More lockdown announcements imminent, nurses protest working conditions and sports federations fear collapse

A South African Police Services officer directs and checks the movement permissions of people in Cape Town. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Nic Bothma)

Things changed overnight in South Africa on 15 March when the national state of disaster was declared — and it won’t be the last time it does. Daily Maverick’s Daily Digest will provide the essential snippets of information about Covid-19 in South Africa each day. Read on to get the full picture.

Swipe through the gallery below to view the latest Covid-19 numbers available on 13 May at the district level. All maps are sourced from provincial health departments:

* KwaZulu-Natal is not currently releasing district-level data.

By the end of May, most of South Africa should be on Level 3 lockdown. However, areas with a higher rate of infection will remain on Level 4, announced President Cyril Ramaphosa during his address on Wednesday evening. Over the next few days, more announcements on changes to Level 4 restrictions will be made, as well as the next phase of the economic response to the crisis. 

He said that the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic so far has been mostly successful, and that any mistakes made in explaining or enforcing regulations will be corrected as far as possible. He reaffirmed that rights must be upheld and that government must consult and communicate with the people living in South Africa. Read the full address here.

 

An infographic explaining the differentiated approach the South African government will take during the next phase in its response to Covid-19, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa during his address on 13 May 2020. (Source: Government Communications and Information Systems)
The latest figures on the capacity added to South Africa’s healthcare system during the lockdown, according to President Cyril Ramaphosa during his address on 13 May 2020. (Source: Government Communications and Information Systems)

Meanwhile, the labour department has revealed that 60% of companies are complying with Level 4 restrictions. SOEs and other government entities scored 50%. This is the finding of 2,789 inspections carried out between 30 April and 8 May. As Ed Stoddard reports, the department was not satisfied with the rate of compliance so far.

In Nelson Mandela Bay, it has come to light that managers at hospitals and clinics have been withholding personal protective equipment “for when the outbreak comes”. This has been admitted by the provincial health department. 

A number of nurses have already been infected and have struggled to access personal protective equipment and proper training, prompting protests in the metro. As Estelle Ellis writes, the department says it is confronting these misunderstandings with managers as stock has been delivered to most facilities.

Dozens of supermarket chains have had to close their stores after a staff member tested positive for Covid-19 or was exposed to the virus. Shani Reddy quizzed the companies about their pay policies and the financial and physical well-being of their staff affected by the outbreak.

In Cape Town, the C-19 People’s Coalition has accused the City of Cape Town of trying to spin the reality of its plans to relocate homeless people from the Strandfontein temporary shelter which is about to close. Volunteer monitors at the site have witnessed hundreds of people sent packing with little help. 

As Vincent Cruywagen reports, the City is going to court on Friday to file an interdict against the South African Human Rights Commission and 10 others to deny them entrance to the site or “threatening” members “ or “publishing or disseminating reports relating to the site”. 

South Africa’s sporting world is under threat from the lockdown – 83.7% of sports federations surveyed by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee believe they won’t survive longer than six months under the current Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. They managed to survey 49 of 76 sports federations. As Craig Ray writes, there has been no rescue package for the entire industry.

South Africa’s football bodies have agreed to form a task team to plot the way to a return to play. As Yanga Sibembe writes, the team will look into concerns around the resumption of play and then submit a proposal to the government to be considered.

The horse racing industry is at risk of losing 80% of its 60,000 jobs and most staff have been furloughed, according to the National Horse Racing Authority. As Bheki C. Simelane reports, the authority predicts the industry will collapse “in its entirety” if racing doesn’t resume under Level 3.

Meanwhile, the DA and e-commerce businesses have called for an end to restrictions on the sale of non-essential items. Businesses such as Yuppie Chef, bidorbuy and PayFast spoke of the challenges they face now that some items can be sold and others not. As Sumeya Gasa reports, DA leader John Steenhuisen has said that the current lockdown restrictions on non-essential items are “senseless”. DM

Gallery

"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"