South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Friday 27 March_1

If you need to stay in tune with all the latest news in
South Africa, be sure to review the country’s top headlines on Friday 27 March.

South Africa has officially entered a lockdown as a result
of the COVID-19 outbreak. While citizens come to terms with the first day of
isolation, as regulated by the Disaster Management Act, Health Minister Zweli
Mkhize remains confident that the recent rise in cases is a result of stringent
testing and that the lockdown will further serve to flatten the curve.

Today’s latest news
in South Africa, Friday 27 March

Day one of South
Africa’s lockdown

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has officially begun its deployment in response to the coronavirus lockdown which will be in effect until 16 April. Together with the South African Police Service (SAPS), the military will assist in the enforcement of regulations, particularly in densely populated areas and the country’s borders.

The outright prohibition of alcohol sales and transportation
will be closely monitored by SAPS, which has already begun setting out numerous
road blocks and vehicle check points to limit movement.

Police Minister Bheki Cele has issued a stern warning to
citizens looking to defy the lockdown, and reminded South Africans that
violations of the Disaster Management Act could result in six months behind

Urgent application to
keep home-delivery sector operational

An urgent application has been lodged with the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, to exempt food and grocery delivery services from the lockdown. Manny De Freitas MP, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Shadow Minister of Tourism, issued a statement confirming the urgent request, noting that Annexure B of the regulations, while including ‘food products’, did not take into account citizens who are physically unable to visit supermarkets or other exempted stores.

De Freitas added that government uncertainty regarding the
transportation of food complicated matters. De Freitas said:

“At the same time as Trade and Industry Minister, Ebrahim
Patel, said at the National Command Council press briefing on Tuesday that
those who ‘assist in transporting food and other essentials to people’s homes…’
should be on the Gazetted list of essential services, Minister Kubayi-Ngubane
said that home food delivery would not be allowed.”

Free State church
gathering proves to be coronavirus hotbed

The Department of Health has noted, with serious concern,
the number of positive coronavirus cases which have emanated from a church
gathering with was held in the Free State between 9 and 11 March.

Screening processes concerning a number of churches have been ordered by the department after Pastor Mohau Rammile of the Reconciliation Church in Bloemfontein was found to be infected with COVID-19. Prominent Evangelist, Angus Buchan, also revealed that he contracted the virus, most likely while attending the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast hosted by the Divine Restoration Ministries. There are currently four churches at risk of having spread the coronavirus:

Divine Restoration MinistriesGlobal Reconciliation ChurchEagle Christian ChurchWord to the World Church

The Department of Health has called for all congregants to
come forward for testing.

Fighting the
coronavirus during lockdown: More testing, trailing drugs

The Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation
says R12 million has been made available and a further R30 million will be
redirected towards COVID-19 interventions.

This includes re-purposing and testing a number of existing
drugs for efficacy of the potential treatment for COVID-19.

“The Department of Science and Innovation task team is engaging with the Department of Health, the Medical Research Council, and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority to mobilise funding, prioritising research strategies and creating an enabling ethical and regulatory framework to facilitate research on the COVID-19 virus,” said the department in a statement.

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade
Nzimande, has established specific COVID-19 teams for the Department of Science
and Technology and the Department of Higher Education and Training

These distinct teams are comprised of stakeholders in the
two sectors who are critical to the advancement of the sectors’ roles.

The teams will assist the Minister for effective
participation in the work of the President led National Command Council, as
well the sectors contribution in fighting COVID-19. (Source: SAnews)

Retailers criticise
panic buying

The National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and
Industry (NAFCOC) in the North West province called on citizens to obey
government-issued regulations during the lockdown.

“We owe it to ourselves to curb the spread of this
virus. The chamber calls on all South Africans to obey the rule of law and all
measures announced by the government to reduce the spread of Covid-19,”
said spokesman Tshepang Ramosepele.

“We also reiterate government’s call to not engage in bulk-buying as it will put unnecessary pressure on supply and disadvantage the poor. We urge all communities to report any unfair and exorbitant pricing of essential products, including basic food items.”

He said communities must also guard against unscrupulous
individuals who were selling “fake” products, such as sanitisers. (Source: ANA)

Latest weather forecast, Friday 27 March

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