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Infectious Diseases

13 July 2020

Coronavirus morning update: Alcohol banned again, and curfew also imposed

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that alcohol will be banned again with immediate effect in order to lessen the strain on hospital beds - and a curfew will be imposed again.

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN SA

Cases update: 

The latest number of confirmed cases is 276 242.

According to the latest update, 4 079 of deaths have been recorded in the country.

There have been 134 874 recoveries.

So far, 2 154 391 tests have been conducted, with 45 821 new tests.

READ MORE | All the confirmed cases of coronavirus in SA

Latest news:

South Africa will not be moving back to Alert Level 4 or 5, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday night – but a curfew will be imposed, alcohol sales will be banned, and new mask rules will be imposed.

On the other side of the coin, all auctions will now be allowed and parks will be reopened.

"The storm is upon us," Ramaphosa said, even while "many are downplaying the seriousness of this virus", and failing to adhere to the rules intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The government, he said, would secure more beds, oxygen, and ventilators, but it is "not only the health system that needs to be strengthened" – and the cabinet had agreed to "strengthen the enforcement of existing regulations and take certain additional measures". 

READ MORE | Booze is illegal again, but parks can open: What we know about the new Level 3

Funeral parlours are battling to cope with demand as Covid-19-related deaths around the country rise daily, and government is increasing capacity in cemeteries to cater for the deluge.

Meanwhile, doctors working at hospitals in Gauteng, which is now the country’s Covid-19 epicentre, are having to decide who will and will not get treated with scarce ventilators and oxygen after hospital admissions in the province skyrocketed over the past 10 days.

According to Vuyo Mabindisa of Vuyo’s Funeral Services in Soweto, they used to bury about 35 people a week, but that number has jumped to about 50 people a week, with an average of 10 to 15 deceased people a day.

“You can say that we are now in peak season,” said Mabindisa.

Gauteng is in crisis as all state hospitals have reached capacity.

READ MORE | Covid-19 death storm is here: Doctors have to choose, funeral parlours at full capacity, and experts say this could have been prevented 

Members of the North West provincial cabinet – who were close contacts of the MEC Gordon Kegakilwe – have been cleared of Covid-19.

Kegakilwe, North West MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, died on Monday following a "short and serious illness" and had tested positive for Covid-19.

Kegakilwe was admitted with Covid-19-related pneumonia last Sunday afternoon at the Vryburg Private Hospital and was immediately put on oxygen; and a decision was taken the following morning to transfer him to a medical facility in Klerksdorp - where he died. 

The five MECs were named as Health MEC Madoda Sambatha, Social Development MEC Boitumelo Moiloa, Education MEC Wendy Matsemela, Finance MEC Motlalepula Rosho and Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Desbo Mohono. 

READ MORE | North West MECs test negative for Covid-19 after colleague's death 

President Cyril Ramaphosa reminded South Africans that no one was immune from the coronavirus and emphasised the need for the country to unite in its fight against the pandemic, following the death of AmaRharhabe Queen Noloyiso Sandile earlier this week.

In a eulogy delivered at the funeral of Queen Noloyiso on Sunday, delivered on his behalf by Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe, Ramaphosa issued the warning after the Queen died following a short illness, as well as testing positive for Covid-19.

The funeral was held at Mngqesha Great Place near King William's Town on Sunday morning, after the 56-year-old died on Wednesday.

"There are no 'royal issues' or 'traditional issues', there are issues that face us all as a nation. The many challenges we face as a country can only be overcome if we work together, side by side."

He said it was only through vigilance and extreme caution on the part of South African citizens, that the pandemic would be overcome. 

READ MORE | Queen Noloyiso's death 'stark reminder that none of us are immune from the coronavirus' - Ramaphosa

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE REST OF THE WORLD 

Cases update:

For the latest global data, follow this interactive map from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.

Late on Sunday night, positive cases worldwide were 12 785 483, while deaths were 566 210.

The United States had the most cases in the world - 3 278 946 , as well as the most deaths - 135 029.

READ MORE | All the confirmed cases worldwide 

Latest news:

President Donald Trump finally yielded to pressure and wore a face mask in public for the first time on Saturday as the US posted another daily record for coronavirus cases, while Disney World reopened in a state hit hard by the pandemic.

White House experts leading the national fight against the contagion have recommended wearing face coverings in public to prevent transmission of the illness.

But Trump had repeatedly avoided wearing a mask, even after staffers at the White House tested positive for the virus and as more aides have taken to wearing them.

Hours after the World Health Organization urged countries to step up control measures to rein in the disease, Trump donned a dark mask bearing the presidential seal as he visited wounded military veterans at the Walter Reed military hospital in a suburb outside Washington.

"I've never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place," he told reporters as he left the White House.

READ MORE | Trump finally dons mask as US sets new virus case record 

LATEST RESEARCH

As we take precautions against Covid-19 infections, many people still think that the disease is not that serious as many of the cases are “mild” or even “asymptomatic”.

But Covid-19 affects different people in different ways. While many patients were able to recover from their symptoms at home, little is known about possible lasting effects.

Some cases show no symptoms at all. But not only was there a concern that these people could spread Covid-19 to other more vulnerable people, there is some evidence that there may be some lasting damage, even if you showed no symptoms.

In a recent study, Chinese researchers from Wuhan University performed CT scans on 58 patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 but displayed no symptoms. Of these asymptomatic patients, 27% did develop symptoms after their diagnosis, which included fever, shortness of breath, dry cough, fatigue and diarrhoea.

But another aspect of the study was even more concerning. All of these 58 patients, whether they presented symptoms or not, showed lesions on their lungs.

READ MORE | Future complications possible even in asymptomatic Covid-19 cases, research found 

HEALTH TIPS (as recommended by the NICD and WHO)

• Maintain physical distancing – stay at least one metre away from somebody who is coughing or sneezing

• Practise frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as your hands touch many surfaces and could potentially transfer the virus

• Practise respiratory hygiene – cover your mouth with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Remember to dispose the tissue immediately after use.

Image credit: Getty Images