CORONAVIRUS DAILY DIGEST #66

State of Disaster extended, Cabinet to appeal ruling on lockdown, and missing protective gear reappears

By Christi Nortier 5 June 2020

Dressing operations for doctors and nurses in the Covid-19 ward of Humanitas Hospital in Rozzano, near Milan, Italy. (Photo: EPA-EFE/Matteo Corner)

On Thursday, the Cabinet announced it would extend the State of Disaster by a month. It will also file an urgent appeal against a high court ruling that the lockdown Level 3 and 4 regulations are invalid. In KwaZulu-Natal, a large amount of missing personal protective equipment has reappeared. In Cape Town, the start of Level 3 has sparked gang violence. Meanwhile, hundreds of mental health professionals have volunteered to provide support to frontline healthcare workers.

 

Swipe through the gallery below to view the latest Covid-19 numbers available on 4 June at the district level. All maps are sourced from provincial health departments; however, KwaZulu-Natal did not provide an update by the time of publishing:

 

Cabinet says it will urgently appeal the high court ruling that most of the lockdown Level 3 and 4 regulations are invalid and unconstitutional. It has also extended the State of Disaster by a month to 15 July.

Making the announcement on Thursday, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said the regulations had been enacted properly and served a purpose. He said the government’s decision-making “was spot on”. He emphasised that current regulations remain in effect. As Marianne Merten writes, he also pointed out that the State of Disaster can be extended “on a month to month basis”.

In KwaZulu-Natal, a large amount of personal protective equipment that was reported missing on Tuesday has reappeared, according to Kwazi Mthethwa, the spokesperson for Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu. The gear was meant to be sent to schools in Zululand, Umlazi and Pinetown before it went missing. The department said it demands full accountability for the disappearance and reappearance of the stock.

In Cape Town, some areas have experienced an escalation in gang violence since the start of lockdown Level 3 and the withdrawal of a strong police presence. 

On Wednesday evening, a Bonteheuwel father was shot and killed in an apparent drive-by shooting. His two-year-old son, who had been in his arms, was wounded and rushed to the hospital.

On Monday, a seven-year-old boy was hit by a stray bullet while sleeping at home in Manenberg. That same day, a 10-year-old girl and a 64-year-old man were wounded in separate incidents. Activists told Vincent Cruywagen: “First we had to worry if we are going to die of Covid-19 and now it is back to square one where residents have to duck and dive, not sure who is the next target.”

The Healthcare Workers Care Network, an initiative to provide professional mental health support to healthcare workers during the pandemic, was launched on Wednesday. More than 500 mental health professionals have volunteered to support healthcare workers, with 200 volunteering to staff a 24-hour toll-free helpline. They offer counselling over the phone and refer callers to professionals nearby. Healthcare workers, as well as support staff, can register online to access support.

Digital platforms and e-commerce have been the saving grace for some entrepreneurs during lockdown. Biénne Huisman spoke to Uber drivers who have pivoted to delivering groceries and packages, and small delivery companies that have seen a boom in business.

GroundUp and Spotlight have published their latest Covid-19 Report. They ask: is it safe to return to school? How do you prevent getting Covid-19? What is herd immunity? What is the latest science on hydroxychloroquine? Find out here. DM/MC

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