SA records first deaths as a result of Covid-19

South Africa recorded two fatalities of the coronavirus on Friday.South Africa has recorded its first fatalities due to the coronavirus, the health ministry announced on Friday.

In a short statement nine hours into the official 21-day lockdown, health minister Zweli Mkhize said two people had died as a result of Covid-19.

“This morning, we wake South Africans up with sad news that we now have our first deaths resulting from Covid-19.“These two deaths occurred in the Western Cape. One at a private hospital and the other at a public hospital,” Mkhize said in a statement.

“We will give more details later on,” he said.

The health ministry also announced that by Friday morning, the number of positive coronavirus infections around the country had surpassed 1,000.

Bored during lockdown? Mzansi has you covered with #Twitter30seconds

Ditch the TV and play this.Ditch the TV and play this.
It’s only day one of a 21-day lockdown in SA and many are already complaining about being bored.

Before you eat your feeling and watch another Netflix show that really isn’t worth your time, try your hand at #Twitter30Seconds.

For a minute, you might think it’s just another fad, but there are actually some goodies in there. Yes, we spent a while figuring out the answers.

And really, try not to cheat and don’t scroll down on the mentions.

Buhle Samuels hits back after being dragged for ‘Covid-19 sarcasm’

Actress Buhle Samuels got dragged for her 'crime will go down' thanks to Covid-19 joke.Actress Buhle Samuels got dragged for her ‘crime will go down’ thanks to Covid-19 joke.
Image: Instagram/Buhle Samuels
Buhle Samuels’ attempt at humour during these uncertain Covid-19 times has backfired.

On Twitter, the Muvhango actress said she thought some positives would come from the 21-day lockdown, which takes effect at midnight on Thursday and ends on April 16.

“I think one of the positive things that will come from the Covid-19 lockdown is no crime for a whole 21 days! It is said a habit can be formed/broken in 21 days, let’s hope thieves can learn better ways to behave in society!”Her tweet didn’t land as she intended. People started filling up her mentions with what the lockdown meant for most South Africans.

Some said her tweets were “stupid” and that crime would go up because people were losing their jobs.

Buhle had to “defend” herself.“Some [of] you need to have a little more humour! If you believe from just one tweet I’ve posted that I believe people can just stop being thieves in 21 days then I think you need to worry more about yourself!” she said.

READ IN FULL | Listen or face a jail term: Cele on how police will enforce national lockdown

Police minister Bheki Cele on Wednesday detailed how police would enforce the national 21-day lockdown.Police minister Bheki Cele on Wednesday detailed how police would enforce the national 21-day lockdown.
Image: Trevor Samson
On Wednesday, police minister Bheki Cele explained how police would enforce the national 21-day lockdown.

Among other things, he said no alcohol would be allowed for the three-week period, people would not be allowed to leave home without valid reason, and that failure to follow the rules would result in a fine or a prison sentence.

Below is his full address, shared by the Saps. It has not been edited.

Minister of police unpacks measures by the police to enforce the national lockdown:

Honourable ministers, deputy ministers, DGs, senior officers from the JCPS [justice and crime prevention security cluster] and other government departments, members of the media, fellow South Africans,

Good day, Sanibonani, Dumelang

Annexure D (Regulations) – List of prohibited places

Following the declaration of a nationwide lockdown by the president this past Monday, we have sat as the JCPS Cluster and the South African Police Service to outline and intensify the measures we would be implementing to make sure that the intentions of this lockdown are realised.

With the subsequent deployment of the SANDF, we will be increasing visibility and conduct integrated foot patrols, roadblocks, vehicle checkpoints as of 23h59 on Thursday evening March 26 2020.

Metro Police Departments as well as other law enforcement agencies will form part of these joint operations that will be conducted for the duration of the lockdown. Operations, especially roadblocks, will be conducted at sector policing level within communities and residential areas, on provincial and national roads. This will ensure that the movement of people and vehicles is kept to the minimum, with the exception of the transportation of essential good and/or services which include fire and medical emergency services.

At these roadblocks, particularly on provincial and national roads, motorists, especially essential service workers that cross provincial borders, will be subjected to screening by officials from the department of health.

In terms of the new regulations that have just been gazetted, police will be responsible to ensure the restriction of movement of persons and goods. Therefore, there shall be absolutely no gatherings other than for a funeral, where the number of mourners will be restricted to 50.

Still on funerals, we need to emphasise that even night vigils will be prohibited.

Last weekend with the previous Covid-19 Disaster Management Regulations, we were inundated with requests for clarity and a lot of other questions around the selling and consumption of liquor. This time around with the national lockdown, the selling of liquor is strictly prohibited. This is applicable to also those supermarkets with liquor licences. No liquor will be sold anywhere by anyone during the 21-day period of the lockdown.

Equally, the movement of liquor between any two points is also strictly prohibited as per the Covid-19 Disaster Management Regulations.

The president, in declaring the lockdown, made exception to essential goods and services. A detailed list clarifying what these are, is attached as one of the annexures in the regulations. Only those goods and services that appear on these annexures will be allowed. Anything outside of these lists will not be entertained.Therefore, anyone found to be in contravention of the regulations, shall be found guilty and on conviction, will be liable to a fine, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both.

We have noted the fear and the possibility of the escalation of gender-based violence that could come as a result of liquor now being consumed at home. As an extra measure, we have plans in place to beef up our FCS Units (Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences) to deal with this threat. The number 0800 150 150 can be used to report incidents of gender-based violence for urgent response.

Meanwhile, all forms of crime must be reported. Our 10111 will remain fully functional during the lockdown period. The Crime Stop number is also functional and can be used to give anonymous tip offs on suspected criminal activities. Also, police and the SANDF will be visible in the streets conducting foot patrols.

Ladies and gentlemen, the simplest and best way to combat the spread of the coronavirus is to adhere to the call by the president and STAY HOME. The only time you should be outside of your home should be to acquire essential services such as medical attention, food, or other goods and services, as listed in the annexure to the regulations.

Cooperation from the public is the best way to win this battle. I must appreciate the calls and tip-offs we got last weekend reporting people who were ignoring the Disaster Management Regulations. In fact, it is exactly that stubborn behaviour that has now caused us a national lockdown.

Again, I warn: failure to respect and obey the laws this time around could drive us straight into a state of emergency. The situation we find ourselves in demands that we all be responsible and take the necessary precautions.

Let us unite against the virus. Remember, our aim is to arrest the virus – not to arrest people.

Long queues, but calm prevails at Joburg’s malls ahead of lockdown

Long queues at Randridge Mall in Johannesburg ahead of the national lockdown on Friday.Payday shopping is normally associated with long queues and long waits, and it was no different ahead of the national lockdown on Friday.

Queues were out of the door at many stores, but this was likely a result of stores limiting the amount of people inside in an attempt to enforce some form of social distancing.

However, calm appeared to be the order of the day.

Margaret Pilane was one of the customers who were waiting to get inside the Dis-Chem pharmacy at Randridge Mall, Johannesburg. The store allowed only 50 people inside at a time.

“I’ve been waiting for about 10 minutes but I’m not too agitated because they have explained to us why. And this way they are making means to protect us,” she said.

Pilane is one of the many shoppers who rushed to the stores in the morning hoping to buy all they need ahead of the stay-home instruction.

She said she normally took her grandchild with her to the shops but had decided against it this time around.

Some shoppers in the queue seemed impatient but all adhered to the restrictions imposed.

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