CORONAVIRUS SOUTH AFRICA INFO
As the Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 sweeps across the world, fear has risen amongst people during this very sensitive time. In many cases, this fear comes from people feeling like they do not understand or know enough about the dangers of this virus, and what it is exactly that they need to do to keep themselves safe. For this reason, we have decided to create this page to keep all South Africans updated about everything related to COVID-19, both locally and worldwide, so remember to keep checking this page for live updates!
Coronavirus in South Africa: What’s the Current Situation?
As of June 21, there have been 238 339 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Africa, 113 061 full recoveries and 3 720 deaths.
Cases have been confirmed across all provinces:
• Eastern Cape – 44 432
• Free State – 3 724
• Gauteng – 81 546
• Kwazulu-Natal – 19 630
• Limpopo – 2 381
• Mpumalanga – 2 902
• North West – 7 870
• Western Cape – 74 815
• Northern Cape – 1 039
• Unknown – 0
South Africa has taken some of the most radical steps in all of Africa in a bid to combat the spread of COVID-19. The country is well aware that an increasing number of confirmed cases could be a challenge for South Africa’s healthcare system, which is already overburdened.
On Thursday 9 April, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on the continuing efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.
The 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 has been extended by a further two weeks until the end of April.
“If we end the lockdown too soon or too abruptly, we risk a massive and uncontrollable resurgence of the disease. We risk reversing the gains we have made over the last few weeks, and rendering meaningless the great sacrifices that have been made.
“After careful consideration of the available evidence, the National Coronavirus Command Council has decided to extend the nation-wide lockdown by a further two weeks beyond the initial 21 days,” said the President.
The President said,” since the lockdown came into effect, the rate at which new cases have been identified here in South Africa has slowed significantly. From 1,170 confirmed cases on the 27th of March, the number of confirmed cases today stands at 1,934. In the two weeks before the lockdown, the average daily increase in new cases was around 42%. Since the start of the lockdown, the average daily increase has been around 4%.
On Thursday 23 April, the President announced that SA will reopen at level 4 on 1 May; sale of cigarettes will be permitted. Bars, shebeens, theaters, cinemas will remain close. Companies that reopen from 1 May must first prepare the workplace, then bring in employees in groups of no more than 33%. The strict coronavirus lockdown – which was extended from 16 April until the end of the month – will not be extended again but will be phased out in levels.
On Monday 23rd March, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the National Coronavirus Command Council has decided to enforce a 21-day nation-wide lockdown with effect from midnight on Thursday. Under the lockdown, South Africans will be required to stay at home from midnight on Thursday 26th March 2020, until midnight on Thursday 16th April 2020 and only leave their house if it is for food, medication or social grants.
Ramaphosa has also called on the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to assist police in communities and make sure that the safety measures announced are being implemented.
The only people who are exempted from this lockdown are those who have essential roles, including health workers in the public and private sectors, emergency personnel, those in security services — such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel, soldiers — and other persons necessary for the response to the pandemic.
Other key workers include those involved in the production, distribution, and supply of food and basic goods, essential banking services, the maintenance of power, water and telecommunications services, laboratory services, and the provision of medical and hygiene products..
On Tuesday, March 17th, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology announced that all universities and colleges would also be closed until the 15th of April. As such, 2.5 million students and staff members have been affected.
Around the country, the impact of coronavirus has been felt in every part of life. The very latest cancellation of major events came today, as the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality canceled the popular Iron Man SA triathlon and the Splash Festival.
On March 15th, President Cyril Ramaphosa went before the nation and in a heartfelt speech, stressed the urgency of steps needed to be taken against the coronavirus outbreak in South Africa.
Among the steps announced by the President are these:
• A travel ban on foreign nationals from high-risk countries such as Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, and China. This ban came into effect on March 18th, 2020.
• South Africa canceled visas to visitors from the above countries, while previously granted visas have been revoked.
• South African citizens were advised to refrain from all forms of travel to or through the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and other identified high-risk countries such as Iran, China, and South Korea.
• Foreign nationals who visited high-risk countries in the past 20 days will be denied a visa.
• Those entering the country from medium-risk countries such as Hong Kong and Singapore will need to undergo high-intensity screening.
• All those entering South Africa from what is considered high-risk countries since the middle of February this year need to present themselves for testing.
• South Africa will shut down 35 out of its 53 land ports from this week.
• 2 out of its 8 sea ports (Mossel Bay and Saldanha) will be shut for passengers and crew changes.
• All non-essential travel for all government officials outside of South Africa is prohibited.
• Non-essential domestic travel by air, train, taxis and buses is discouraged.
• Schools are closed and will remain so until Easter Weekend at least (leading to shortened mid-year school holidays in order to compensate).
• A limit on large gatherings.
Land-Based Casinos all over the World Closing Down due to COVID-19
Around the world, many countries have ordered places of entertainment, including land-based casinos, to shut their doors temporarily to help curb the virus. Global gambling hubs such as Macau in China and Las Vegas in the US have taken a huge hit by decisions made by operators and governments to close these casinos.
Sun International reported that some of its global operations in Peru and Panama have been affected by the pandemic since governments in those countries chose to close casinos.
Sun International didn’t wait until the official lockdown, scheduled for 26 March at midnight, came into effect and the group already started closing its casinos on Tuesday. The group also said that it would be closing all of its South African hotels. Rival Tsogo Sun Gaming has also closed their casinos to the public.
Very few industries in the world will come out of the coronavirus pandemic unscathed, and that goes for the gambling and hospitality industries as well. The South African casino industry won’t know the full extent of the damage until it is able to take stock and regroup – and nobody knows when that will be.
Sporting Events Cancelled or Postponed Due to Novel Coronavirus
Much like many countries across the world, South Africa has halted many sporting events
SA Rugby suspended Super Rugby, the major intercontinental provincial competition and has basically locked down the sport at every possible level until further notice.
Cricket South Africa suspended all games for the next 60 days, and aborted an Indian Tour.
It has been more difficult for the Premier Soccer League to take drastic measures. This week, however, the league almost grudgingly suspended all upcoming matches in South Africa, with immediate effect, citing the president’s call to restrict gatherings to less than 100 people. The PSL would not suspend the entire league for the season just yet.
As a result of so many cancellations, Ithuba, the official National Lottery operator, announced the cancellation of its popular Sportstake 8 and Sportstake 13 games.
Esports and Gaming Events Affected by Coronavirus
All over the world, as fears continue to grow about the spread of the coronavirus, esport tournament organizers decided to cancel or suspend their events.
Some of the events effected:
• The League of Legends Professional League cancelled all offline play.
• The League of Legends Championship Series was suspended until further notice.
• The Overwatch League cancelled its events for March and April.
• The Dota 2 Epicenter Major, due to take place in Moscow this May, was cancelled.
• The Call of Duty League cancelled all scheduled Home Series events for the season.
• The Rocket League World Championship, set to take place in Dallas in April, was cancelled.
Are we going to be left with no entertainment thanks to the Coronavirus?
Hope for ESports Tournaments to go on Instead of Traditional Sports Leagues
Although we are seeing dramatic changes in the way we are used to being entertained, the industry has nevertheless managed to adapt well under the circumstances.
If you’re worried about missing out on your favorite esports conference, take comfort in the fact that many of the league organizers have decided to take action and move their tournaments online.
These are just some of them:
• The League of Legend Professional League transitioned to playing league matches online.
• Flashpoint 1 CS:GO Tournament Series will transition from LAN on online play
• The ESL Pro League moved its Season 11 finals from Denver to a closed studio, while the league has moved entirely online.
• The Call of Duty League moved to an online format.
• The Heartstone Masters Tour Indonesia will be played entirely online.
• The PUBG Mobile Pro League has been converted to an online event.
• Several HyperX ESports Arena Las Vegas events were moved online.
Online Casinos Still Available to Players Worldwide
In the mid-1990s, the land-casino industry saw the entry of a new player into its sphere – the world of online gambling. Since then, literally millions of players from South Africa and around the world prefer to be entertained online. For them, the coronavirus hasn’t altered their entertainment reality at all.
Online casinos offer players the chance to enjoy hundreds of casino games under one virtual roof, the opportunity to play for real money, and to hit jackpots that can sometimes be truly life-changing.
In recent years, online casino games have been completely accessible with mobile devices. This means the ability to play and win practically anywhere, and at any time of the day or night. The sheer convenience and entertainment features of online and mobile casinos enable players to get the most of their gaming sessions – despite the spread of the coronavirus.
What this means for the Gaming Industry
There is no doubt that the coronavirus is causing major disruption to the gaming industry as a whole. Most recently, the most important annual gaming conference, E3 officially cancelled their event, joining the Entertainment Software Association, representing the video game industry, and others in cancelling their annual events.
Larger companies will stay afloat as they adjust their plans and switch to remote marketing and announcements, but it will be the smaller companies that will probably be hardest hit.
Millions of quarantined workers around the world means that gaming manufacturers don’t have access to stock. Nintendo has already said that it expects mass delays in shipping and shortages of consoles in Europe and the United States.
The esports world has pulled out of competitions, as the NBA cancelled its entire basketball season.
Some esports games cannot deal with online issues, as players report lack of smooth gameplay and lags. This has also dealt a blow to popular fighting games such as Street Fighter.
Analysts say that the impact of COVID-19 on the gaming industry could be huge, with some organizers even noting the blow may be so strong that they may never recover. Smaller companies are more at risk than the more established ones.
On the other hand, the novel coronavirus hasn’t killed off the industry entirely – far from it. Many leagues and tournaments have made a successful switch to online play, and we need to be thankful that we are living in an era when this possibility could mean the difference between the success or demise of an entity.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptoms
Coronaviruses (or CoV) are a large family of viruses that have the potential to cause anything from the common cold to the more deadly SARS-CoV.
According to the World Health Organization, “common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.”
To summarize, the symptoms of coronavirus, according to SACoronavirus.co.za are:
• Sore throat
• Shortness of breath
Guidelines on How to Stop the Spread of Coronavirus
• Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick
• Cover your sneeze or cough with a flexed elbow or tissue. Throw the tissue into the bin
• Clean and disinfect objects that are frequently touched and surfaces
• Limit contact with people outside your family
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 – 30 seconds
• Stay home as much as possible to reduce the chances of being exposed
The World Health Organization recommends: “Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.”
Our Heart-Felt Advice to All People Living in South Africa
• Stay safe
• Keep in touch with family and friends via video call/call/message. Use social media platforms to stay connected.
• Support one another – we’re all in the same boat, with the same fears and worries.
• Social distancing – don’t shake hands, hug or kiss. There will be time for that after the pandemic passes. Keep the recommended 2m distance between people.
• Keep busy – Don’t let yourself sink into worry and depression. Bake, binge a Netflix series, knit, learn a new language.
• Be kind to yourself – Do things that make you feel calm, such as mediation, prayer or reading.
• Be your own filter – By all means, keep abreast with the news but don’t inundate yourself with mindless broadcasts that rehash the subject from every angle. Choose a few good news sources and get your information from them.
• Don’t share every bit of information that comes your way about the virus – Avoid sharing fake news and double-check the source of the news.
• Emergency Hotline: 0800 029 999
• WhatsApp Support Line: 0600-123456 – Send HI on WhatsApp
• Clinicians Hotline: 082 883 9920
Encouraging Words from the President regarding Coronavirus:
On March 15th, President Cyril Ramaphosa issued his statement, declaring the measures that the government plans to take to combat COVID-19. In his speech, the President also said some encouraging words to the people of the nation: “Fellow South Africans, This epidemic will pass. But it is up to us to determine how long it will last, how damaging it will be, and how long it will take our economy and our country to recover. It is true that we are facing a grave emergency. But if we act together, if we act now, and if we act decisively, we will overcome it. I thank you.”
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) FAQ
What is coronavirus (covid-19)?
The World Health Organization explains that “Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).”
The WHO further goes on to explain that COVID-19 is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.
How and where did this global pandemic start?
According to SACoronavirus.co.za, on January 7th, 2020, SARS-CoV-2, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 was confirmed to be the causative agent of COVID-19, or Coronavirus Disease 2019.
Most of the patients were initially identified as dealers and vendors in a live wildlife market in China. However, since then, the virus has spread to over 100 countries around the globe, including South Africa.
Which coronavirus is SARS?
The WHO explains that Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome is a virus that was identified in 2003 and is thought to have originated from an animal virus – probably from bats. This is a person-to-person transmitted disease.
What is MERS coronavirus?
The Center for Disease and Control Prevention describes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) as: “A viral respiratory illness that is new to humans. It was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has since spread to several other countries, including the United States. Most people infected with MERS-CoV developed severe respiratory illness, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Many of them have died.”
How long does coronavirus last?
It is still early days yet, and it is not possible to give the disease a timeline.
What are the main symptoms of Coronavirus?
Harvard University’s Health department explains that some people infected with Coronavirus have no symptoms. However, when the virus does cause symptoms, the more common ones include: “low-grade fever, body aches, coughing, nasal congestion, runny nose, and sore throat.” It goes on further to say that the virus can sometimes cause more severe symptoms such as high fever, a severe cough, and shortness of breath (an indication of pneumonia).
I have a fever and a sore throat, should I be worried?
Not every sore throat and fever indicates that you have coronavirus. However, if you display any of the symptoms of the disease, you can call the helpline for worried South African citizens to see how you should proceed. The number of the hotline is: 0800 029 999.
What is social distancing?
Newscientist.com describes social distancing as “changes in behavior that can help stop the spread of infections.” This includes curtailing social contact, work and schooling among healthy individuals, with the intention being to delay the transmission of the infection and reduce the size of the outbreak. Examples of such measures include avoiding public spaces and unnecessary social gatherings, working from home and avoiding the use of public transport. The WHO recommends maintaining a distance of at least one meter between people.
Is there a vaccine for Covid-19?
There is currently no vaccine available for the virus. However, human testing on a vaccine is expected to begin very soon. Scientists say that it could take a year or more before we find out if a developed vaccine works.
How do you treat Coronavirus?
Since there is no vaccine yet for Coronavirus, treatment is supportive (eg. doctors provide oxygen for patients who are suffering from shortness of breath, or treat their fever). There is no antiviral treatment, nor do antibiotics help fight the disease. Should a bacterial secondary infection develop, doctors may prescribe antibiotics.