CORONAVIRUS DAILY DIGEST #102
SAA racks up new losses during lockdown, KwaZulu-Natal the new one to watch and no word on schools reclosing
On Monday, it came to light that SAA racked up a net loss of almost R2-billion during the hard lockdown. Grades 3 and 11 pupils were due to return to class as the Department of Basic Education remained silent on the outcome of its meeting with Cabinet over the reclosing of schools. Meanwhile, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize noted that KwaZulu-Natal is seeing a rapid increase in Covid-19 infections.
Scroll through the gallery below to view the latest Covid-19 numbers available on 20 July at the district level. All maps are sourced from provincial health departments; however the Free State, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo did not provide an update by the time of publishing:
SAA lost R1.97-billion for the first quarter of its 2020 financial year – most of which was during the country’s hard lockdown. It has operated only repatriation and cargo flights during that time. Although that brought in R736-million, it still generated R2.3-billion in operating costs during that time. It is yet to restart its domestic flight operations, unlike its competitors. Its business rescue practitioners expect it to be back in the skies only by January 2021. As Ray Mahlaka writes, this week is crucial for the airline as government, trade unions and business rescue practitioners begin discussing the fate of the airline’s workers.
KwaZulu-Natal is taking over from Gauteng in terms of the rate of Covid-19 infection, according to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize during an inspection visit to Nasrec Field Hospital in Johannesburg on Monday. He said the national and provincial departments will be in talks on “how to move ahead so that they do not get caught up with the numbers”. Premier Sihle Zikalala raised the alarm over the climbing numbers on Sunday.
Grades 3 and 10 learners were expected to return to their classrooms on Monday in all provinces, bar the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. There was no word about the possible closure of schools after Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga briefed the Cabinet on Sunday. The Department of Basic Education has said a decision will be announced once all meetings have been concluded. Ayanda Mthethwa unpacks what has led to the possible closure of schools six weeks after they reopened.
There is an ever-increasing number of signatures on the #JusticeforShoni online petition. More than 25,000 people have signed to voice their anger over the death of Shonisani Lethole at Tembisa Hospital on 30 June 2020 and demand an investigation into his death. He apparently died of Covid-19, but his family has many unanswered questions about the circumstances of his death.
His friends and family have called on the Department of Health to launch an investigation. The petition has also become a call for better healthcare for all. Families and patients have shared their own stories of substandard care, being treated with disrespect and a lack of communication at the hospital. Ufrieda Ho speaks to Lethole’s family and friends about the campaign.
The T20 Men’s World Cup has been postponed from October 2020 to October 2021, according to the International Cricket Council. It said the postponement was necessary to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved and to provide enough time for the qualification process to take place. DM/MC
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