Covid 19: Local Updates

Covid 19: Local Updates

Updates March 31st 11h00 am

Updates March 30th 11h00 am

AND for accurate information about the COVID 19 virus, to avoid fake news and rumours use the World Health Information site as in the link below,

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

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IF YOU WOULD LIKE DAILY UPDATES HERE ARE

SOME LOCAL WHATSAPP AND TELEGRAM GROUPS

WHATSAPP:

COVID: https://chat.whatsapp.com/DpuaFcrWcYu7bdwYMP3ohY
or https://chat.whatsapp.com/JCRgYmytPIBF7nbJROKTDN

MUNICIPAL/WATER/ELECTRICITY:
https://chat.whatsapp.com/IXDGP4MRdrsKksmHTrwvRW
OR https://chat.whatsapp.com/BCE4MCyPnjF1EuasivE37r

TELEGRAM GROUPS:
COVID:
https://t.me/joinchat/M9_fghu2M66uFJ8d8VbYPw

MUNICIPAL/WATER/ELECTRICITY:
https://t.me/SWD_WATER_ELECTRICITY

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Updates March 27th 4h00 pm

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT ON FUNERAL SERVICES

COVID-19: Must employees be paid during the lockdown in South Africa?

The President recently announced a nation-wide lockdown in South Africa for 21 days from midnight on Thursday 26 March 2020 until midnight on Thursday 16 April 2020. Under lockdown, people will need to stay at home and will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances, such as to seek medical care, buy food, medicine and other supplies or collect social grants.

Certain categories of business will be permitted to remain open and certain categories of people will be exempted from the lockdown.

Where they are not included in the list of ‘exempt businesses’, the President has confirmed that companies who are able to continue their operations remotely should do so.

The effect of the lockdown is that many businesses will need to close and employees will not be able to go to work. Many employers are asking whether they need to continue to pay their employees in these circumstances.

In our assessment, during the lockdown there will be three categories of employees:

  • employees designated as ‘essential staff’ in essential businesses, who would continue to work and should continue to be paid;
  • employees who are not in essential businesses but who can work remotely, and who would accordingly continue to be paid; and
  • employees who are not in essential businesses and who cannot work remotely.
  • Employees in non-essential businesses and who cannot work remotely
    The issue in relation to payment arises in relation to this category of employee. In our view, there is no legal obligation to pay these employees. The employer’s obligation to pay arises from the employee’s ability and willingness to tender services. During the national lockdown period, the employees cannot and may not work – not because the employer requires that they do not work, but because of the lockdown order issued by Government.

(This situation is different from the case where the employer requires the employee not to be at work because of a reasonable apprehension of harm in that the employee had been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, or presents with flu-like symptoms. Here it is the employer that requires the employee to be absent on the basis of the employer’s duty to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. In these circumstances, the absence should be paid, unless agreed otherwise.)

As regards employees who cannot work during the lockdown period, of course, if the employer can afford to pay the employee, it may decide to do so, and pay her/ his full remuneration or a portion thereof as a ‘lockdown allowance’ of sorts; or grant the employee a loan to be recovered in due course. It is also permissible to require the employees to take (paid) annual leave.
What happens after the lockdown ends?

We emphasise that this ‘no-work, no-pay’ principle would only apply during the government-mandated lockdown period and, in our view, would not continue to apply after the lockdown ends. If employers wished to continue the temporary lay-offs after the lockdown, this would need to be agreed with employees.

In this regard, the employer would have two options, namely (a) to commence a retrenchment consultation process and explore short time or temporary lay-offs as an alternative to forced retrenchment; or (b) to resort to industrial action and make an employer-demand and if not accepted, impose a lock-out in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Relations Act.  

UIF relief
If employers are unable to pay their employees during the lockdown, they may be able to claim benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. We understand that the Government is currently working on measures to try and alleviate the economic distress caused to employees by the lockdown and that support may be offered through the UIF.

So far, the UIF has issued guidelines [see doc below] that provide, inter alia, for benefits to be made available to employees where a company shuts down for a certain period or if employ ees are required to work reduced/ short time. Further, if an employee has been ‘quarantined’ for 14 days, it seems that she/ he will be also entitled to claim ‘special leave’ benefits from the UIF.

We understand that the discussions regarding the additional UIF benefits are ongoing and we anticipate more clarity, particularly regarding payment systems, in due course.

This article was written by Talita Laubscher and Chloë Loubser. It is the eighth in a series of newsflashes on this topic.
If you have any queries, please contact our Employment and Benefits Practice.

We have created an information hub to house this newsflash as well as all the other information we have compiled for clients across our geographical footprint.
Click here to access the page.

Updates March 27th 8h00 am

IMPORTANT NUMBERS
26/03/20

National lockdown: If you have a complaint against the police, these are the numbers to call

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) has issued emergency numbers for complaints against the police during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Eastern Cape: 082 592 9888;

Free State: 063 225 6081;

Gauteng: 076 455 5718;

Limpopo: 078 871 4811;

KwaZulu-Natal: 079 895 2741;

Mpumalanga: 072 881 4196;

Northern Cape: 064 624 8203;

North West: 078 163 6874;

Western Cape: 073 890 1269.

NEWS24

Updates March 26th 8h00 am

FINAL SUMMARY OF MINISTER’S RUNDOWN ON SABC NEWS 25/3/2020

SHOPPING: Spaza shops are encouraged. Supermarkets and spaza shops must ensure that 1m is kept between each customer at all times. All supermarkets/spaza shops must follow all safety directions, for example hand sanitiser etc. Supermarkets/spaza shops will only be allowed to sell essential goods (food, animal food, cleaning products, hygiene products, fuel, airtime, electricity & medicine) – they cannot sell anything that is not listed as essential goods. Stores will only be open and closed during certain times – these times are still to be supplied by the government. You must shop at the grocery store or pharmacy that is closest to you. 
ALCOHOL: No alcohol sales or movement of alcohol. You are only permitted to drink in your home.
IF YOU BREAK THE LAW: Punishment will be 6 months in jail or a steep fine or both. The Military will assist in roadblocks and foot patrols to enforce curfew.
TRANSPORT: Taxi transport in remote areas, as well as for payment of grants, transport for medical services or for a funeral, is allowed between 5:00 – 9:00 and 16:00 – 20:00 only. The number of passengers each vehicle is allowed to carry will be reduced to only 50% of its normal load. 
FUNERALS: The only gatherings allowed are funerals and then limited to only 50 people. Night vigils are not allowed.
WALKING DOG: No jogging or walking your dog.
BUSINESSES: All businesses will be closed except for essential services which are: municipal services, medical services, courier services, media/press, funeral services, animal care (veterinary services & animal shelters), supermarkets, spaza shops, chemists, cleaning materials suppliers, postal services, traffic, essential SARS staff, police and private security companies. All staff which work for essential services need to have a permit to travel.
BORDERS: All borders are closed except for transportation of food and fuel.
ALL INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC FLIGHTS CANCELLED (except for cargo)
The government has emphasised that the above regulations may change at any point in time.

SUMMARY SUPPLIED BY ZUID COURANT

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Click here for FULL DOCUMENT

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Swellendam Municipality: Announcement on Municipal Functions

CLICK HERE FOR FULL DOCUMENT

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Government Easy Aid guide for Employers : UIF in Covid 19 Lockdown

CLICK HERE FOR FULL DOCUMENT

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Essential Services

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Ebrahim Patel has announced that all businesses that will be allowed to provide essential services need to apply at www.bizportal.gov.za and obtain a certificate that allows them to continue trading. This certificate can be used to trade and allow its employees to have unrestricted movement.

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Sorting out the Fake from the Real:

Anyone that creates or spreads fake news about the Coronavirus COVID-19 is liable for prosecution. Verify the information before you share information. Click the link below to see some of the Fake News that is doing the rounds:

https://www.gov.za/coronavirus/fakenews

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Updates March 25th

5 pm March 25

Municipal response to CV 19 National Lock Down – Requests for special concessions on Municipal Accounts by Businesses directly affected by COVID 10

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3 pm March 25

We’ve got our next update on the number of positive #Coronavirus cases in South Africa, the province and the #Overberg.
There have also been 4 full recoveries from the virus to date; and 2 people are in a serious condition in hospital.
Please note: The statistics shared here are verified. As noted yesterday, individual towns affected by #COVID19 cannot be named.
This is an instruction from the National Department of Health.

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An app to track the corona virus worldwide

Just touch anywhere on the map to get updates

https://www.covidvisualizer.com/

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Rules on restaurants, takeaways and deliveries

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9h30 am March 25

Government briefs to media to further unpack government’s intervention measures on Coronavirus COVID-19, 24 to 25 Mar:

Today at 4 pm is the Security Cluster

https://www.gov.za/speeches/government-briefs-media-further-unpack-government%E2%80%99s-intervention-measures-covid-19-24-25

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4:45 pm March 24th

Government Talking Points

STOCKPILING

Government calls on everyone in the country to avoid panic buying.

  • We are aware that many South Africans are worried about the impact of the coronavirus on essential supplies and food in the country.
  • As government, we are doing everything we can to ensure that we have enough food and all essentials we need.
  • It is not advisable to buy more than what you need of basics such as food, toilet paper packs and many other essentials.
  • Let us be considerate and responsible to ensure that we have enough for everyone especially the most vulnerable in our society.

Support measures are being introduced to counter food or medical supply shortages.

  • Government is in talks with the retail sector to ensure there is sufficient supply of essential goods such as food and medical supplies.
  • Our country has strong domestic industrial capacity to supply the basic consumer goods for everyone.
  • We are also working to identify alternative suppliers for disinfectants, medical supplies, surgical masks, hospital beds and prefab-style buildings for emergency medical sites.
  • There are plans to fast-track financial support to firms to increase production of medical supplies, bed linen, hospital beds, pre-fab buildings, and cleaning products required to combat the virus.

Together we can ensure that there is enough food and all essentials for everyone.

  • Buying more than what you need has the potential to put unnecessary pressure on the retail sector and cause panic around the country.  
  • We call on all everyone in the country to be calm and continue with their lives as normal.
  • This will help to ensure that businesses continue to supply the goods and essentials we need.
  • Government and its partners will continue to work around the clock and ensure that there is no disruption to supplies.

Let us all be vigilant of scams related to the coronavirus.

  • Government is taking steps to prevent illegal and unsafe products from being sold to consumers.
  • This includes prioritising the investigation and prosecution of fraud related to the coronavirus in the country.
  • We are also closely monitoring food prices and we call on the business community to act responsibly and not charge inflated prices.
  • Retailers who take advantage of the current circumstances and inflate their prices unreasonably can be reported to the Competition Commission via Shadrack Rambau at Shadrackr@compcom.co.za.
  • We also call on community members to report those who sell counterfeit goods such as face masks or edicine so that they can be held accountable.

FAKE NEWS

TALKING POINTS: FAKE NEWS COVID-19

Be mindful about what you share.

  • There have been many false or misleading stories about COVID-19 (coronavirus).
  • These false and misleading stories are often shared on social media and create unnecessary panic. 
  • We call on everyone to think twice before they simply share or forward stories circulating on social media and other sharing platforms.
  • Irresponsible social media posts go against the values and ethos of our democracy.
  • Sharing posts of empty shelves or long lines at supermarkets only creates panic.
  • Government is duty bound to explore all avenues that will bring an end to fake news including prosecuting those who intentionally post fake news. 

We all have a duty to act responsibly and in the interest of society.

  • There is no place for news or social media content that promotes a false or misleading narrative or creates panic.
  • It is important to verify what you share or send. 
  • Only utilise reputable news and information sources for the latest information on COVID-19.
  • A good starting point for information would be to rely on experts who use well-accepted scientific analysis and publish their results in reputable medical journals.
  • Another good port of call is to access information from official channels such as our own NICD or the WHO.
  • The WHO has a myth busters page with information on the virus.
  • Be sceptical of implausible conspiracy theories or stories that dismiss recommendations from public health officials.

SUPPORTING THE SA ECONOMY

SUPPORTING THE SA ECONOMY (CORONAVIRUS)

We are taking decisive measures to protect the economy against the impact of the Coronavirus.

  • The dramatic decline in economic activity in our major trading partners and drop in international tourism is expected to have an impact on our economy.
  • Cabinet is in the process of finalising a comprehensive package of interventions to mitigate the expected impact of COVID-19 on the economy.
  • It will consist of fiscal and support measures to help our economy overcome the potentially severe impact on production, the viability of businesses, job retention and job creation.
  • Government is working with all social partners through National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) to ensure there is a co-ordinated approach to protecting the economy.

Government is working to secure our nation’s supply chains.

  • We are securing the country’s supply chains to prevent supply disruptions particularly in regards to basic foods and essential products.
  • To promote economic activity, our ports remain open to facilitate the movement of goods in and out of the economy.
  • South Africa has sufficient domestic industrial capability to supply basic food and goods.
  • We are also working to identify alternative suppliers for disinfectants, medical supplies, surgical masks, hospital beds, prefab-style buildings for emergency medical sites.
  • There are also plans to fast-track financial support to firms to increase production of supplies of medical and cleaning products required to combat the virus.
  • Government is also closely monitoring food prices and we call on the business community to act responsibly and not charge inflated prices during this difficult period.

Government is supporting distressed companies to overcome the tough economic conditions.

  • Distressed companies are offered a period of reprieve in contributing to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).
  • The Fund’s Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme will be used to ensure that workers are not laid off.
  • In instances where companies decide as a precautionary measure to close for a short period, UIF benefits will be activated.
  • If a company contemplates a short-term shut down, they are required to inform the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
  • Government will work with Development Finance Institutions to extend company debt repayment terms to soften the economic impact of the virus on businesses.
  • There are plans to engage financial sector to introduce longer debt repayment periods, debt servicing payment breaks for companies, and loosen credit extension.

We are supporting all workers affected by the Coronavirus.

  • Government will consult social partners to develop a social compact to extend paid sick leave for workers not currently covered by sick leave provisions to a maximum of three weeks.
  • All workers who contract the COVID-19 at their places of employment will be supported through the Workmen’s Compensation Fund and Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) for sick benefits.
  • In an event that an employee is required to be quarantined for longer than 14 days, such leave will be recognised as a special leave and that employee will be eligible to apply for unemployment insurance benefits.
  • To further support workers, we plan to extend UIF for up to three months for registered workers who are laid off or quarantined as a result of the Coronavirus.

Companies can play a role is stopping the spread of the virus in the workplace.

  • Government appeals to employers to use the prescriptions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in governing workplaces in relation to the growing Coronavirus pandemic.
  • Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act employers have a responsibility to put in place preventative measures including disinfect facilities, especially at large factories and mines.  
  • Employers are urged to conduct a health and safety risk assessment in consultation with the workers.
  • Employers are required to provide necessary protective equipment, mitigation measures and put systems in place to deal with the outbreak.

The Department of Employment and Labour has COVID-19 guidelines to assist South African businesses.

  • The guidelines will help employers identify risk levels in the workplace and to determine what appropriate control measures to implement.
  • It focuses on the Engineering Controls, Administrative Controls, Safe Work Practices and Personal Protective Equipment. It includes:
    • Installing high-efficiency air filters and increasing ventilation rates in the work environment;
    • Encouraging sick workers to stay at home, minimising contact among workers, clients and customers by replacing face-to-face meetings with virtual communications;
    • Minimising the number of workers on-site at any given time through rotation or shift work and discontinuing nonessential travel;
    • Developing emergency communications plans, including a task team for answering workers’ concerns and internet-based communications;
    • Provide personal hygiene resources such as no-touch refuse bins, hand soap, alcohol-based hand rubs, disinfectants, and disposable towels; and
    • Provide gloves, goggles, face shields, facemasks, gowns, aprons, coats, overalls, hair and shoe covers and respiratory protection when appropriate.

11:00 am March 24th – Lock down announced

– to begin Thursday Midnight

Click here for a full record of the President’s Address

March 23 2020
The National Health Dept has said that specific town details may not be shared, though we can say that currently Swellendam has no cases
Information provided by Dr Jacques du Toit

HOW TO GET TESTED: The only way to be tested is first you must have symptoms. Phone the National Hotline, but you will only be tested if you have been in contact with someone who has been tested positive. You must self isolate for two weeks.

National hotline: 0800 029 999 
Provincial hotline: 021 928 4102
Email: doh.dismed@westerncape.gov.za
WhatsApp “Hi” to 060 012 3456

Updates from: Dr Jacques Du Toit, Swellendam Municipality, and the South African Government will be published daily, along with advice, useful links and contact numbers.

An important message from those in the front line…

FOR INFORMATION REGARDING ACTIONS BEING TAKEN BY SWELLENDAM BUSINESSES, RESTAURANTS, SHOPS AND EVENT ORGANISERS PLEASE CLICK HERE

From Dr Jacques du Toit: March 18th 6:30 pm

We still do not have any positive cases in Swellendam or Cape Agulhas at the end of today with no outstanding results.

If we do not practice social distancing, we shall destroy our systems. 

From Dr Jacques du Toit: March 18th 10:00 am

All Government Hospitals:

From Dr Jacques du Toit: March 17th 5 pm

So far no patients tested positive for Covid-19 in Swellendam or Cape Agulhas sub-districts.

Quick & easy chicken tumeric immune boosting soup recipe

Dr Jacques du Toit

*Boil together in a pot for at least 45 – 60 mins
1.5kg chicken with bone
1.5L water
5cm chop fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon/5g ginger powder
2 teaspoons/10g tumeric powder
3 garlic gloves crushed and copped finely
1 chilli pepper chopped finely (if tolerated)
1 teaspoon/5g white pepper
Salt to taste
2 carrots chopped
2 onions chopped
2 sweet potatoes chopped (optional)
2 cups Spinach or kale finaly chopped

*Extra boiling time can be allowed to increase strength of immuno nutrition from bones

Coincidentally these little packs of fresh spices found their way into Mrs Gram’s shopping yesterday. Available in Checkers

MUNICIPAL INFORMATION

USEFUL LINKS AND GENERAL INFORMATION:

A useful LIVE TRACKER http://corona.tuply.co.za/

Western Cape Provincial Government info regarding CoVid 19; https://www.westerncape.gov.za/department-of-health/coronavirus

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Department of Health Official WhatsApp Help Service: Send HI to 0600 123 456 on WhatsApp or use this link: https://wa.me/27600123456?text=Hi

Department of Health Official Clinicians Hotline:
082 883 9920

Then, also, please call the National Coronavirus Hotline (0800 029 999) or health practitioner for further advice on what to do next.

National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD); COVID19 PUBLIC TOLL-FREE NUMBER 0800 029 999 and website; http://www.nicd.ac.za/

https://sacoronavirus.co.za/

Highlights from President Ramaphosa’s Address

  1. State of emergency declared according to Disaster Management Act.

2. Travel ban for incoming visitors from high risk countries from Wednesday 18 March. This includes China, Iran, Korea, Germany, Italy, UK  and Spain (those mentioned in the speech)

3. Visas cancelled already for visitors from high and medium risk countries.

4. SA citizens returning from high risk countries will be tested with forced quarantine.

5. SA citizens returning from Medium risk countries will be subject to additional screening.

6. Several ports of entry will be closed accross all modes of transport.

7. Non-essential international travel for Government banned.

8. Local travel for Government limited.

9. Gatherings of more than 100 people prohibited

10. Mass celebrations and government functions will be cancelled.

11. Small gatherings will attract stringent precautionary measures by organisers.

12. Schools will be closed from 18 March until after easter weekend. School holiday in June will be one week shorter.

13. All sectors to increase hygiene control, including malls and shopping centres.

14. Government testing and surveilance systems being reviewed.

15. Additional isolation and quarantine venues being sought.

16. Setting up national tracking and reporting system in collaboration with private sector.

17. Government to start campaign for general and ongoing hygiene.

18. Additional funding to be allocated to departments dealing with the pandemic.

19. Government command and control to be implemented and meet three times a week.

20. Ackowledgement for financial impacts with several financial packages being investigated.

5 Comments


  1. Rob Hazell

    The governments are destroying the ecconomy for an ugly form of the common cold that kills one sixth of the numbers killed by Tuberculosis. And many times lless than Aids. If our polititicians are not mature enough to make economically sound judgments may be they should hand over the drivers seat and yhat goes for you too Trump.

    Reply
    1. Terrence Andrew

      Rob, with the greatest respect you are far bigger than that.
      If you research the subject you will find that the transmission mechanism of Covid-19 is vastly different from that of aids, for example, and the negative outcomes will place you and I (our age group) at significantly higher risk. The ‘build up’ of positive test results, being compounded and therefore exponential, will rapidly outstrip the capability of an effective medical response if no early and decisive action is taken.
      Terry Andrew

      Reply
  2. Elsie

    The soup recipe very similar to the Portuguese soup we make when feeling under the weather.

    Reply
  3. LORRAINE

    THE BEAD BOX IS OPEN NORMAL HOURS AT PRESENT.

    BEADING IS A GREAT PASTIME AND HAS A CALMING EFFECT.
    IF DELIVERY IS REQUIRED PLEASE CONTACT LORRAINE AT 083 450 9781

    Reply
  4. Linda Brown

    Baie dankie aan almal in die dorp wat pro-aktief optree-van ons hospitaal, restaurante, munsipaliteit en vele ander……..
    Dit is goed om die FEITE te versprei en ingelig te wees ten alle tye….
    “Rather safe than sorry!…”
    Staan saam (nie te naby !), en neem mekaar in ag!
    Sterkte , veral aan ons mediese personeel in Swellendam.

    Reply

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