South Africa

South Africa announces start of mass testing

PRETORIA, March 31 (NNN-AGENCIES) — South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has launched a mass screening programme for coronavirus.

The president said 10,000 field workers will be visiting homes to screen people – and those found with symptoms will be quarantined either in their homes or in hospitals.

Ramaphosa said the programme in a “new phase” in the fight against the spread of the virus.

The government is also developing technology that will help in tracking down all people who may have contacted people infected with the virus.

South Africa: Locked up workers freed from mask-making factory

DURBAN, March 30 (NNN-AGENCIES) — The authorities in the South African city of Durban have freed 14 workers who had been “locked up in a mask-making factory since Monday”, a local government minister said.

They also arrested the owner of the business.

The workers “were forced to manufacture hundreds of masks to meet the demand caused by the outbreak of coronavirus”, KwaZulu-Natal’s tourism and environmental affairs minister Nomusa Dube-Ncube said in a statement.

They were “subjected to inhuman conditions”, she added.

Virus prevention measures turn violent in parts of Africa

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Police fired tear gas at a crowd of Kenyan ferry commuters as the country’s first day of a coronavirus curfew slid into chaos. Elsewhere, officers were captured in mobile phone footage whacking people with batons.

Virus prevention measures have taken a violent turn in parts of Africa as countries impose lockdowns and curfews or seal off major cities. Health experts say the virus’ spread, though still at an early stage, resembles the arc seen in Europe, adding to widespread anxiety. Cases across Africa were set to climb above 4,000 late Saturday.

South Africa begins 'unprecedented' military-patrolled lockdown

27 March 2020; AFP: South Africa came under a nationwide military-patrolled lockdown on Friday, joining other African countries imposing strict curfews and shutdowns in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus across the continent.

Some 57 million people are to be restricted to their homes during South Africa's three-week total lockdown which began at midnight.

Fearing coronavirus, African city dwellers flee to the countryside

NAIROBI/JOHANNESBURG, March 27 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Each morning at a crowded bus station east of Nairobi, Kenyans load their bags on to minibuses emblazoned with the faces of pop stars and Jesus, heading to their villages in the hope of escaping the coronavirus.

“I am going back home because of corona,” said Amina Barasa, her yellow headscarf standing out in the dark bus. The electronics shop where she worked had shut, she said, and she was going to stay with her family away from the city crowds.

South Africa’s corona cases surge to 554 amid imminent national lockdown

CAPE TOWN, March 25 (NNN-XINHUA) — South Africa’s coronavirus cases surged to 554 on Tuesday amid an imminent national lockdown, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.

This was an increase of 152 from Monday’s announcement, the highest rise in a single day since the country reported its first case on March 5.

The majority of these cases are in a “good condition” and most are not symptomatic, the minister said.

Two patients are in critical condition in private hospitals, but there is no reported death so far, the minister said in his latest update.

South African rivals unite to fight coronavirus

PRETORIA, March 19 (NNN-AGENCIES) — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has met leaders of the country’s main political parties and has appealed for solidarity in the fight against coronavirus.

At a news conference, opposition politicians confirmed they were backing the government’s efforts.

But the interim leader of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen, urged the government to do all it could to protect jobs and limit the damage to the already struggling economy.

South African court clears Pres Cyril Ramaphosa over donation

PRETORIA, March 11 (NNN-AGENCIES) — South Africa’s High Court has dismissed the findings of an anti-corruption investigator who said that President Cyril Ramaphosa had deliberately misled parliament over a campaign donation.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane showed a lack of knowledge of the law and did not have the power to investigate the donation, the court ruled.

Judges also dismissed her call for the president to be investigated for possible money-laundering.

The ruling is a major boost for him.

South African police evict migrant squatters from Cape Town’s busy square

Cape Town, March 3 (NNN-AGENCIES) — South African police forcibly removed hundreds of migrants who had been squatting for four months on a busy Cape Town square popular with tourists.

The eviction ended months of tension between the city and the migrants who had camped on the pavements of Greenmarket Square since last year following a spate of xenophobic attacks.

Cape Town had sought an injunction after around 700 foreign nationals, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi occupied the sidewalks.

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