Covid-19

CORONAVIRUS DAILY DIGEST #73

Gauteng outbreak a growing concern as court is asked to force government to continue feeding all learners

South African children mark their places by placing their lunch boxes and bowels in a road marked with social distancing lines and cover them with stones to prevent them from blowing away in the wind as they wait for food from the Masiphumelele Creative Hub feeding scheme run by Yandiswa Mazwana in Masiphumelele, Cape Town, South Africa 28 May 2020. The Masiphumelele Creative Hub feeds over 800 of the communities most vulnerable children on a daily basis. The feeding scheme receives no help from government and is private donor funded. Food security has been one of the major issues in South Africa since the onset of the Corona virus pandemic and lockdown. With the onset of winter the adverse weather with high winds and heavy rain further add to the scheme's challenges. EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA

On Friday, two public interest law centres filed an urgent application to compel the Department of Basic Education to feed all learners, whether their classes resume or not, through its national school feeding scheme. Meanwhile, Premier David Makhura has appealed to the government for more resources to help Gauteng prepare for a Covid-19 peak. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has come out in support of South Africa’s Covid-19 response. The City of Cape Town, however, has been grilled over why it continues to evict residents of informal settlements during lockdown.

 

 

 

Swipe through the gallery below to view the latest Covid-19 numbers available on 12 June at the district level. All maps are sourced from provincial health departments, though KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Eastern Cape did not provide an update by the time of publishing:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grade 7 and 12 learners will receive a daily nutritious meal from their school feeding scheme now that they’re returned to the classroom. But nine million schoolchildren in other grades continue to go hungry.

On Friday, public interest law centres SECTION27 and the Equal Education Law Centre filed urgent papers to force the Department of Basic Education to feed all learners, whether their classes have resumed or not. As Zukiswa Pikoli writes, the department has provided no alternative measures during the lockdown to feed the 12 million learners that previously relied on it for a daily meal.

Maverick Citizen has been given access to affidavits from the SECTION27 and Equal Education Law Centre clients and will publish 15 extracts.

Maverick Citizen writes:

“Learners’ affidavits, particularly, make for stomach-churning reading, but it is important to read their stories to try to understand the lived realities of people in small, off-the-map, far-flung villages in South Africa. People, even worse children, going hungry in South Africa is unforgivable. It is also important to pay tribute to the bravery of teachers, parents, school governing bodies and learners who are speaking out despite being fearful of intimidation and losing their jobs.”

Visit Maverick Citizen’s homepage to find all the extracts.

The number of people who have Covid-19 has almost doubled in Gauteng since the start of lockdown Level 3. The number of active cases has increased from 52% to 62% in a week, while hospital admissions have gone up from 256 to 493 within the last week. 

Premier David Makhura has appealed to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to allocate more resources to the province, specifically to hire more medical professionals and increase the number of hospital beds. As Greg Nicolson writes, Makhura says he is asking for more support now to be better prepared for the peak in August or September. 

South Africa’s high infection numbers reflect intensive testing, according to the director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Dr John Nkengasong. He has praised South Africa’s response to the Covid-19 epidemic and counters arguments that say the country is lifting the lockdown too soon. Peter Fabricius writes that the African Union is set to launch the Africa Medical Supplies platform, through which African countries can buy critical medical supplies.

The City of Cape Town has installed about 200 water tanks in informal settlements since the start of lockdown, it said during a briefing to the parliamentary committee of co-operative governance and traditional affairs. It said that installing the tanks was a challenge given the space constraints and criminals targeting water trucks.

However, members of the committee wanted to know why the City was evicting residents in informal settlements despite there being a moratorium on evictions during lockdown. As Karabo Mafolo writes, the committee also wanted to know why Mayor Dan Plato was not in attendance. 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]"

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