South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Wednesday 18 March_1

Stay informed and up to date with all the latest news in
South Africa – check out the day’s major headlines on Wednesday 18 March 2020.

As the number of positive coronavirus cases continue to rise
in South Africa, the economic impact of stringent precautionary measures
announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa become all too real for both small and
large businesses alike. Further disruptions to events, social gatherings and
public transport are expected to be announced. In sports news, the debate
concerning hosting local Super Rugby derbies rages on.

Today’s latest news
in South Africa, Wednesday 18 March

South African
coronavirus cases at 85

Following a protrated period of uncomfortable silence, the
South African Health Department, led by Minister Zweli Mkhize, revealed that
the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had increased by 23 over the past two
days and now totalled 85.

Mkhize confirmed, with great concern, the rise in local
transmissions. According to the Health Department, at least six infections emanated
from local contact.

The deadly infection, which has caused global panic, typified
by quarantines, travel bans and the prohibition of social gatherings, was first
reported in South Africa 12 days ago.

On Sunday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced stringent
preventative measures, in conjunction with the declaration of a ‘state of
disaster’, aimed at suppressing the spread of COVID-19.

Employers ordered to
heighten safety precautions

The Department of Employment and Labour has appealed to employers to use the prescriptions of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act of 1993 in governing workplaces in relation to Coronavirus (COVID–19).

The OHS read with the Hazardous Biological Agents
Regulations requires the employer to provide and maintain as far as is
reasonably practicable a working environment that is safe and without risks to
the health of employees.

“Section 8(2)(b) requires steps such as may be reasonably
practicable to eliminate or mitigate any hazard or potential hazard before
resorting to personal protective equipment (PPE). However, in the case of
COVID–19, a combination of controls is required, although the main principle is
to follow the hierarchy of controls.

“However, before the implementation of control measures, current risk assessments need to be reviewed and updated, taking into account the new hazards posed by exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. This is in accordance with Section 8 (2) (d) of the OHS Act.”

The department wishes to appeal to employers who have not
prepared for pandemic events to prepare themselves and their workers as far in
advance as possible of potentially worsening outbreak conditions. (Source: SAnews)

Scammers use
coronavirus to trick fearful South Africans

South Africa’s central bank has warned citizens against scammers visiting homes to “recall” banknotes and coins they said were contaminated with the novel coronavirus.

The criminals carried fake identification badges and
provided false receipts to victims, who were told they could exchange the slips
for “clean” cash at any bank.

The bank said in a statement issued late Monday that it had
“neither withdrawn any banknotes or coins nor issued any instruction to
hand in banknotes or coins that may be contaminated”.

“There currently is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus
is transmitted through the use of banknotes and coins,” said the
statement. (Source: AFP)

Comrades Marathon not
suspended, yet

The Comrades Marathon scheduled for June 14 has not yet been
suspended, despite the spread of Covid-19.

The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) made an announcement
on Tuesday, saying it would be premature to suspend the event at this stage.

Under the on-going guidance of the government on the virus,
as well as Athletics SA and KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA), the CMA Board will
review the situation by April 17 and advise Comrades athletes on the way
forward, depending on the status of the virus in the country at the time. (Source: ANA)

Super Rugby explores
home derbies amid travel bans

In the midst of an indefinite hiatus, Super Rugby could
forge ahead with domestic derbies, according to Rugby Australia chief Raelene

The 2020 tournament has been placed on hold in the wake of
the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen some of the participating countries
impose international travel bans.

It is yet unclear when the competition is set to resume but
with time elapsing without fixtures, this could place doubt on whether the
scheduled fixtures will all be able to take place before its conclusion.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Castle said Sanzaar was
looking at forging ahead with home derbies as a possible solution to the
current break in competition.

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